Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Software everyone should have

May 17th, 2006

Everytime I go somewhere and need to use a PC I check to see if firefox is installed. If it isn’t I ask for permission to install it after listing its benifits. And firefox alone without any extensions, as you might know, is only the beginning of an experience. But to go around hoping page to page looking for extensions had become too much of a task installing firefox. So I decided to list them all on a page so its easier to find the ones that I need.

Apart from Firefox, the page also lists some other freeware and opensource software that I have found really useful. Like a replacement notepad, a direct-to-disk mp3 recorder and a couple of media players.

I thought sharing this page with everyone might be beneficial. You can check it out here.


Qibla Locator has a new home

May 13th, 2006

The Qibla Locator has a new home today. It will also be available from its previous location at till it is fully indexed by google and others.

The new domain was bought from Yahoo but the site itself is hosted on Dreamhost which also hosts


Stephen Colbert vs John Stewart

May 11th, 2006

Colbert vs John Stewart
Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, host of ‘The Colbert Report’, rose in popularity after his skewering of President Bush at the Whitehouse correspondents dinner. A comparison of the number of searches on google trends between him and Jon Stewart (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) shows him sky rocketing after the Whitehouse dinner. Jon Stewart also had his moment earlier this year when he hosted the Oscars. The number of searches for Colbert though, seem to be twice as many.


Hi-Res images of Karachi & Islamabad on Google Maps

May 11th, 2006
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Qadafi StadiumGoogle updated its maps with high resolution imagery of Islamabad and the other earthquake hit areas that devastated the region last year. These images and that of Karachi were available first through Google Earth, Google’s downloadable map software. Recently they have merged their dataset for the two offerings giving those who haven’t downloaded Google Earth the same view on Google Maps.

Faisal MasjidThe level of detail is close to the best Google has to offer for any location. In the image of Qadafi Stadium National Stadium, for example, you can see that there is a cricket match going on and you can almost count the number of players on the field. In the image to the left is the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, built by the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.


Qibla Locator layout in IE fixed

May 10th, 2006
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Several major display issues appearing on the Qibla Locator in Internet Explorer due to CSS have been fixed. One minor issue relating to the overview pane remains but I dont consider it much of a problem and will look to fix it sometimes in the future.

It must be noted that the Qibla Locator works best in Firefox. Although IE is supported, the experience you may have may not match that with Firefox.


Google adds Arabic translation

April 30th, 2006
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Google ArabicGoogle Research has released a new system of machine translation based on statistical analysis of text. They explain what that means in layman terms on their blog as…

“…we feed the computer with billions of words of text, both monolingual text in the target language, and aligned text consisting of examples of human translations between the languages. We then apply statistical learning techniques to build a translation model.”

The system is in beta like almost all of their offerings and just went live. You can find the beta site here.
Time to have some fun practicing Arabic 🙂


Qibla Locator now with address search!

April 27th, 2006
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With the new Google Maps API v2 released, I decided to update the Google Maps Qibla Locator with quite a few exciting new features. First and foremost is the ability to search by address using AJAX! This is possible thanks to the Yahoo! Geocode API. You can not only search by address but also by zipcode, city, state or even just country (address and zipcode work only in the US). Different search queries provide different zoom levels. The more precise the query, the more zoomed in the view will be. This is usefull as it can speed up the process in locating a place.

Also added is the distance to the Qibla. As noted in the API documention, this distance could be off by as much as 0.3% but is still a good estimation.

Another little feature that was added has to do with the UI/usability. You will note that the map controls only appear when the mouse is on the map and they disappear when it is not. This enables the user to have a full unobstructive view of the map.

New in Beta 0.87:

  • Updated to Google maps APIv2.
  • Replaced Overview Pane with official collapsible version.
  • Added Yahoo! geocoding.
  • Added distance to Mecca.
  • Added mouseover map controls.
  • Added zoom level indicator.


Dua by Mishary Rashid El-Efasy

April 21st, 2006

A beautiful dua I found on google video by Mishary Rashid El-Efasy.


Writely Invitations

April 21st, 2006

WritelyYesterday I got my invitation for writely. It was’nt as bad getting one as I thought it would be. After posting on a couple of blogs here and there, two very generous bloggers emailed me and offered me the invites. I took one from the first one and thanked the second for his kind offer. So to do the least, I decided to give away some of my invites too. Here’s what i’m going to do. To get an invite, leave a comment stating where you’re from and what you do for a living.


A day in the life of Sheikh Abu Bakr Ash-Shatry

March 30th, 2006

Have you ever wondered, listening to your favorite Qari reciting the beautiful aayat of the Quran, what the person behind the melodious voice is like? Or how you would give anything to have recitation like theirs? If your answer is “of course!”, then you’ll love this video of Sheikh Abu Bakr Ash Shatry. It’s ‘a day in the life of…’ interview with the Sheikh where the sheikh basically walks you through his routine.

One thing I should let you know before you go watch it, it’s in arabic 😐 but definitely worth watching. Although I understand parts of it, I’m definitely not able to transcribe the video otherwise I would have.

Link: A day in the life of Sheikh Abu Bakr Ash-Shatry