My days and thoughts....

Blog covering some selected happenings in my life.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Webcams from Egypt

I have always wanted to talk about this thing. Webcams are one of the importants tools that can help promote a country. Not only that, but they can also provice important traffic information and can be very helpful in emergency situations. Not to mention the pleasure that many people on the internet find in watching webcams from other countries. I am a big fan of webcams and many times and I am bored I check my favourite website Earth Cam which I have been following for 6 years since dial up internet in Egypt. This website has a compilation of thousands of webcams from all over the world. Even the occupied palestinian territory has a webcam (i lost the link) broadcasting from downtown Gaza and I think Ramallah too. Also I witnessed the landfall of Hurricane Katrina through webcams. My most favourite webcam page the one broadcasting from the heart of New York at Times Square with increasing number of cams broadcasting and one of them provides live video stream with sound. There are 11 cams now on that page, they were only 5 back then during the 9-11 attacks in September 2001. I also like webcams that make you control them for a short period.

Now, where is Egypt from all of that? Well, untill last year early 2005, there were only 3 webcams. I believe Egypt's first webcam is Tommy Friedl's webcam in hurghada. This is the first webcam I came through unknown number of years ago. It was the only returned result that I got back then after spending hours searching for a webcams in Egypt. I wasn't fond of it that much as it didn't and still doesn't give much updates. It is updated a couple of times everyday only. But I will leave it alone in this paragraph as it deserves distiction for being Egypt's first webcam. Tommy Friedl is provides water sports and safaries in Hurghada so more info is found on the website.

My favourite webcam is the PyramidCam which is Cairo's first webcam.They provides 2 cams, the first is a neat closeup of the pyramids that works from sunrise to sunset. The other is a wide angle 24 hours online night cam. They provide more than a shot every minute. Since I have came about that site last November, it has been on my daily routine. I watched more than a 100 sunsets on it. However, sunsets starting from mid April are not as amusing as they were because of the angle of the sun and decreasing amounts of clouds. The camera and website is maintaned by Jim Sorenson, an American businessman who has been living in Egypt for a long time and Ramy Siag of the Siag Travel that owns the Siag Pyramids Hotel.(this part is copied from their website)

There was a second cam from Hurghada, Colona Divers Cam which is a diving centre that operates 4 more branches across the red sea in Egypt. This one is much better than Tommy Friedl's as it is online 24 hours and they change its position a couple of times in a day.
The American University in Cairo added Cairo's first webcam(Geographical Cairo governorate as Pyramids are in Giza) or in their new campus that is located in the Tagammo3 El Khamis (5th district) of the RingRoad in Qattameyya. The cameras started operating the last summer near the beginning of the fall semester. They give one update every hour for 24 hours and you can watch the buildings under construction there. It is kinda boring!

Untill last January, I could only find these 4 webcams through all possible cam websites. But two weeks ago, while searching again for webcams in Egypt, I found 3 more webcams. Again one in Hurghada, a second in Dahab(yes DAHAB) and a third in Sharm El Shiekh. Hurghada third webcam is maintaned by Colona WaterSports which I think is different than the Colona Divers. This cam is directly located on the beach where you can see a lot of people kiting or windsurfing. There is also a detailed weather ticker about the current conditions. This is the best cam in Hurghada!!

The next two cams are in Sinai. Finally something in Sharm El Sheikh; the Werner Lau Diving Center cam, updated 3 times in one hour for 24 hours. A little boring but you can get to see some people moving around. The webcam in Dahab, also owned by a water sports center is a troublesome one. I only watched it working just one time in the night. It is not working at all now. They are supposed to provice live video stream but I didn't bother to install the activex control as the webcam itself is not working properly.

Now let me praise myself and show off a little. I sometimes use my webcam to show spider and sometimes the street. The first success was during the solar eclipse that happened last March. I got 300 hits on that day and my computer became so slow. I was refreshing the image every 5-10 seconds. I also left it online for some random days for a couple of weeks after. I am not sure if this counts as the 8th webcam in Egypt but I, myself, don't think so as its not consistently online. I Occasionally you can find it online on that here, hosted at home of course. I think that on my long term plans I have to make an online webcam broadcasting from the street I live in.

Egypt has 7 webcams owned and maintained by foreigners, mostly germans and diving centres. I don't know why the notion of using webcams to show people and places have not spread in Egypt. Broadband internet is spreading fastly which is one of the reasons for the addition of the new cams in parts of sinai that were non existant before 15 years. These people, although not Egyptians, are doing a great job promoting Egypt. I wish I can see more webcams soon. I think the Nile deserves more than one cam and other crowded places like Ramses Square and El-Hussein Area. Hats off to these guys.

Here is a list of links to of Egypt's online webcams ordered alphabetically by location. Check them out and add them to your favourites.

1 year of partial freedom, 1 year of blogging

1 whole year passes today for me participating my political rights. I voted in that wacky constitution referendum that took place on the last week of classes of last year Spring 05 semester. I still remember the whole today. I had two classes back then. I attended them after I got my voting card and went to vote later. I was the only one at the polling station. I thought that Mubarak was sincere and honest in his February promise. I saw some difficulties later on at the presidential elections. I would like to thank my Sociology professor who made me aware of a lot of things. I still have a lot of things untold of that day. One new piece of information is that I voted null. I made one long horizontal line connecting the two circles. One more thing remains that I have done but can't tell of it now. It was a foolish thing but I can't speak of it in the time being.

At the very same day I posted my first post here on this blog. Check it here
That link of my picture putting the ballot in the box expired but I will not update it for privacy concerns for the time being.

My blogging was very limited at the beginning. I was planning to have 4-5 blogs and started having a post in each. But I figured out its better to concentrate on one. So I deleted the others and started posting more on this one. My posts generally reflect what I feel or what I want to say. I still couldn't post all of my thoughts because of some sort of a barrier or a self censorship. I have a lot of weird ideas, social, political and point of views that I haven't posted. Why is that? I am writing for myself as I said. I only told very few people of my blog. Just a couple of friends and two aggregators. Also I have been very reluctant to include the link to my blog on the forums and bulletin boards I participate it. Then why didn't I voice these opinions? Some of them are controversial or pointless. But sometimes I just feel like I want to say them to releive myself of some sort of feelings.

I considered starting a new blog with a hidden identity. Something like the Egyptian mozza for example. But I don't think this is a good idea. I want to be myself. I don't want to hide. This is me typing all of that. Some of my posts are ready. They are just saved as a draft waiting to be published. Others still reside in my mind. I created a To do list for my second year blogging.

  • Post the pending drafts
  • Consider a move to drupal hosting(I hate blogger now after I lost that post &#^%)
  • Post my History exam essays
  • Post more in arabic (I improved my speed)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stock Market Crashes Again!!!!!

The Egyptian stock market suffered from another big drop today sending a lot of stocks to record 18 months low. Top dogs like Hermes (HRHO) went down 11% to 34 LE which reached 250LE just a couple of monthes ago. Telecom Egypt dipped to 11LE, corruption rampant media and production city which was ripped off by its previous president Abdel Rahman Hafez and runaway business man Ihab Talaat, closed at around 7.80.

This is the most precise moment for any amateur to start investing in the stock market. All of the stocks are at the most suitable price level to be bought. Anyone who has lost a fortune in the past declines could make up for a big portion of the losses if enought liquidity is present to buy almost every stock at the desirable amount of shares.

I reccomend the following:

Arab Polivara (APSW) -- Textiles Sector
Ezz Porcelain (ECAP) -- Ceramica El Gawhara
Oriental Weavers (ORWE) -- EL Nassagon El sharqeyon

These stocks are perfect for quick profit and long term investment for the time being

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A stand towards life

Something is waiting for me out there. I have this feeling that either its coming towards me or I am moving closer to it. What is this thing? Is it something I want? No, it is something that destiny is keeping away from me. Or is it something that will happen because of the interaction of different events I experiencing? I can't really tell. But I know that I want get to this thing.

The question is, shall I seek this unknown? Its not an ordinary unknown, it is something unique that will or will not affect me. Is it a search for identity? Nah. I don't think so. It is not time to find the real me. I am not seeking it right now. Also it is not something that I am looking inside myself. So it is not an exact unknown since I know that I am not looking for it in myself. Then what is it? Could it be a new adventure that I seek? I am too lazy for adventures. My last intellectual encounter is tiring me to the extent that I want to take a break. If it is something I want, I shall be working for it yet in many cases I don't do my best in it. No it is not about academic achievement, or is it? Nah. May be it is that desire to go into an ferocious erupting volcano just for fun?

Sometimes this feeling feels familiar. Maybe it coincides with the World Cup? (Smile) I got to be kidding myself. I know it. I know what is this feeling about. It is about my destiny. I am repeating myself here. It is destiny that is hiding this thing from me. But this thing is about my destiny. The answer could lie within my future or is it the future?

Do I have to wander randomly in life? This is not nonsense that I am writing. I am writing this for myself. No one is ought to understand what I am writing. I will refer back to this post sometime later.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gamal Mubarak secretly meets with Bush, Cheney and Rice!!!!!

Wow, the hier to the throne of the Egypt has secretly flown to the US last Friday, May 12th 2006 and met with the whole US administration starting from the "dumb president" as called by an American from Minnesota in my literature class, his vice DICK Cheney, secretary of state Ms. Rice and some other officials. I was surprised today when I read about that on the Washington Post's Website this afternoon. The more surprising is that Al jazeera Channel (English website here) was the first to announce, not by an official White House statement. Of course one need not mention anything about the stand of the Egyptian officials who would have denied the meeting as had the Egyptian Embassy previously done.

The funniest thing is the following

President Bush stopped by for a few minutes to shake Mubarak's hand and convey greetings to his father.

I hope Gamal enjoyed his "private trip" in which had to carry back greetings to his father.

Now, what is the official US administration stand towards what is happening in Egypt? Are they giving support to the regime or they just grroming Gamal Mubarak to follow his father? I thought the United States was supporting democratic reform in Egypt. It seems that we Egyptians have to work for democracy by ourselves like what our grandfathers done in the early 1920s. Is the US president trying to fool Egyptian people or he is just "dumb" as my fellow american colleague calls him(it was for the national guards deployment)?

The link to the article on the Washington Post followed by part of the article:

Mubarak's Son Met With Cheney, Others
Secret Visit CameAfter Cairo Unrest
Peter Baker Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; Page A04

The son of Egypt's president made a secret trip to Washington last week
to meet with Vice President Cheney and other senior U.S. officials a day after
thousands of Egyptian riot police broke up a pro-democracy demonstration back in
Cairo, U.S. and Egyptian officials said yesterday. Gamal Mubarak, 42, a powerful
political player and widely considered a possible heir to his father, Hosni
Mubarak, told the U.S. officials that Egypt is committed to further democracy
but said it would be a long-term process that will include setbacks. "There was
no tension at all," Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmi said in an interview. "They
listened to his explanation of what was happening."

Friday, May 12, 2006

I feel so Egyptian

What's wrong with me? Now, I know I am Egyptian by heart. What the hell is wrong with me? My attempts to become a good citizen who wants to improve in order to help the others around him are failing. I am trying to be a good citizen. I want to bring a change to people around me. But I couldn't bring that change to me first. I tried many times. I succeeded for a good while. Then I returned to the normal lousy state.
I set goals just for the fun of setting them and do not even think of working. I then blame those government employees for not doing their job and criticize them of having a record low of 27 mins working time per day. The same thing applies for me. I realized that I really do not work that hard, to the extent that I don't do anything at all. I can see the reflection of many things in Egypt in me. I want these things to change. Therefore, I try to change them in myself first. I want a better life but I am not working for it. I complain about not reaching my goals and blame others on that including blaming lack of time. Nevertheless, it is the lack of vision and the lack of conscious. The dilemma is that sometimes I am aware of this problem but I do nothing to solve it. I know my powers and my abilities to achieve what I want yet I just do not make use of them.

The reasons have to do with the culture and traditions I inherit from my predecessors, peers and surrounding environment. If I change I might be alone and this is the problem. I can find others like me who are changing and are alone so we can group together. I also can find opposition to that change from people who are unaware of what is wrong with them or others who are aware of the problem and cannot change because either they fear this change or they do not want it.

OK, now for the zillionth time I admit of the problem and of the solution. What will I do next? Will give it another shot? It is too hard yet the outcome from previous try is tempting for another. However, I just feel like I do not want it although I know it will be better for me and then for the others around me. The thing I am not sure of is that whether the concept of its never to late to change is applicable or not. But I know that current position is not healthy and is like falling to an deep open abyss and the longer I wait, the deeper I fall.

Let's wait and see.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Washington Post Bashing Mubarak on Emergency Law

Before our local newspapers start their usual whining (or ass kissing) on the usually truthful articles by the Washington post which has been posting some articles against Mubarak that the governmental owned newspapers describe as zionist attacks, ((laugh my ass off)). But before posting their article I want to tell you that the 2 billion dollars aid given to Egypt pours into the benefit of the directors of the aid program or those who take a big portion of it as bribes in Egypt. So we don't need them. 11 billion LE ain't much compared to what is being lost due to corruption every year in Egypt.

check the link here:(not sure if it permanent)

Backpedaling in Egypt
That was a short season of reform.
Thursday, May 4, 2006; Page A24

WHY DOES the administration continue to give nearly $2 billion each year to a government that mocks President Bush's democracy initiative? That's an obvious question in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak's reneging this week on his earlier promise to end emergency rule in Egypt.

Mr. Mubarak, who turns 78 today, has been a friendly-to-America dictator since 1981, with emergency rule one of his chief internal weapons all that time. The law allows him to imprison political opponents without charge for six months; when the six months are up, his security forces often rearrest their hapless prey. The Egyptian president, who is hoping to accomplish a pharaonic succession to his son Gamal, tries to eradicate any sprouts of liberal, secular opposition. Then he can confront Mr. Bush with an unappetizing choice between autocracy and Islamist fundamentalism.

Not so long ago Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were rejecting such tactics as detrimental to global security as well as to Egypt's peace and prosperity. Under pressure, Mr. Mubarak promised reforms, including multi-candidate elections and an end to emergency rule.Now, though, he apparently feels less pressure. He undermined political progress in Iraq with inflammatory criticism of Shiite Muslims (Egypt is mostly Sunni). He has imprisoned his chief liberal challenger on sham charges. Recently he went after two judges who dared point out irregularities in Mr. Mubarak's reelection last year with 88 percent of the vote. A protest in defense of the judges was broken up by more security forces than showed up in response to recent terrorist bombings in Sinai.

Those bombings provide Mr. Mubarak with a pretext for more repression. But he was readying the extension of emergency rule before the bombings took place. So why the $2 billion? It's true that a Mubarak-ruled Egypt is better than some imaginable alternatives. But the administration and Congress shouldn't limit themselves to Mr. Mubarak's no-win options. If they want to help Egypt, aid should go to that nation's civic society and democratic reformers, not the corrupt regime that persecutes those who favor a freedom agenda.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Recover pictures accidently (or deliberately) deleted from the camera

It happens to many people that they have pictures deleted from their digital cameras by for any reason. It can be accidently like what happened to me and my father in England last year when in some way or another 256 MB of beautiful scenery taken in a park in Oxford were deleted when we tried to copy them to the computer. Pictures can also be deleted on purpose like what happens to those sneaky photographers in private parties. It can be also like what the thugs who are supposed to keep order in Egypt by fighting crime and instead they fight the minority who are aware of their rights who demonstrates. Many of these who take pictures are bloggers or journalists or just passer bys like me.

Well, when the pictures are deleted from the memory card they are actually still there, on one condition which is that no write operations are done on the card untill the lost data is recovered. i.e., don't take more pictures with the camera until a further notice.

This has to do the logic gates which is how the free space is actually a logic gate that is switched off so that the occupied block appears empty. This is the only fact that I came out from the digital logic design course which I thought was boring.

Using a great program called EasyRecovery Professional the lost data can be recovered whether they were lost by formatting or deleting. There are several options for recover the most important are delete recover, format recovery and raw format recovery. I haven't tried it with other file systems than the NTFS or FAT. I want to try it when I have enough free space on my hard drive with the linux' EXT2. Anyways, just insert the card into the card reader, choose the desired recovery mode and destination for recovered files and then wait until all data are recovered. It worked with compack flash card and a 20 GB 6 years olf maxtor hard disk. Thanks to my uncle who told me about this great program. However, I don't always have this program in mind when I need it. This means the only way to get rid of the pictures on a memory card is to completely destroy the card because if even not enough damage has been made to it, data could still be recovrered physically by professionals.

Change in Egypt: Is rebelling against Mubarak the solution???

I am thinking of a change in the regime. I am not the only one who is thinking of this thing. But what sort of change I am dreaming about? Mubarak? Is ousting Mubarak the real solution to our problem? Will a new government and a constitution be the key to the door to prosperity and democracy? I think this is not true at all. Change will not come be going out to shout and yell at those poor illiterate soldiers or their nazi police officers, who are only there to guard the regime. Change will come be rebelling at your own place. What is meant is rebelling against the family, the community, in the school, in the mosque or church, governmental offices and anywhere. It is rebelling to change what is wrong in us.

Although in reality what happened in 1952 military coup with all its grave consequences brought a change, this change came from up, from the the top of the pyramid. It was a group of military officers who started that change and they started with the top of the pyramid. They brought their own change. They brought widespread corruption. They imposed their own views of social changes. They were from different social classes but the lower middle class represented by Gamal Abdel Nasser took a rise followed by the policies of Sadat. Only those who grew close to the government from the lower-middle class benefited from the prosperity. The likes of Mamdouh Ismail, Kamal El Shazli, Ibrahim Nafea or even Sayyid El Sweirky(Tawheed Wel Nor owner) who was wandering in Downtown Cairo with jeans pants in the late 1960s, not to mention Tawfiq Abdo Ismail and those guys who robbed the banks of the country. The coup itself was a symbol of what was going to happen. Some of the officers took over the palaces and luxurious homes, confiscated all valuables, and smuggled them outside Egypt.

Change can come from the top like what Mohamed Ali or Mehmet Ali had done or Khedive Ismail. It had it positive consequences as expeditions were sent to France and it was limited. It created some sort of a bourgeois that eventually turned into the upper class of the pre 1952 coup. This change also was short lived. It hasn't reached down into the what wanted it. It is a more radical change that has to happen to the people. It is not a political change that we should seek; rather its a behavioral and social one. We have to change ourselves first. We have to respect ourselves. People in Egypt from deep inside are falling into an abyss yet from outside they appear to be clinging in concept to the decaying traditions and cultural norms. All of that has to change. Some people will say that extreme poverty will hinder that change. This is not correct because such behavioral change will get us out of poverty. It is a change in everything. A striking change has to happen.

One of the problems with Egyptian people is misinterpretation of religion. I think that people in Egypt fake it and show it from the outside. Religion for some people is just growing beards, wearing a white galabiya and just praying on time; or going to church, wearing a big fancy cross, fasting a lot and asking Jesus for salvation. Both parties try to force the other to believe that they are the righteous religion and think that they both serve God in that way. This is because people don't respect each other and are not tolerant. Then they ask the government for tolerance. They both forgot that God is the most righteous authority and they then they thought they inherited the power of God on earth. Not to add the other reasons behind that, which is ignorance.

After all, the government is from us, the people of Egypt. They are us. Why do they have to be changed? What is the difference between a minister in the government who blackmail a multi-national company for a bribe in big project and that rural employee who blackmails that peasant to give him his share of the fertilizers and seeds? What is the difference between poor employees in china and their counterparts in Egypt? Why do we always say that we Egyptians have to get our asses whipped in order to work and then not work? I have to admit that I, myself, have to be under some sort of pressure to work. What is the difference between us the people and our government that doesn't accomplish its tasks? We are one. Mubarak is one of us after all.

Is democracy the solution to our problems? Will a new freely elected government change how people behave and act? Will a change in one person bring a deep change in us, the 78 million ignorant dipshits of Egypt? The answer would be only YES if all people fought their fear and stood up against the police force and the "evil" forces that forged the elections and lead to that 89% landslide victory of Mubarak. This is one thing the people of Egypt have to do. Ask for their rights. Why aren't they asking for their rights? Either its they have them or they fear getting them. If they have fear then they have to beat this fear else, they don't deserve it.

After thinking deeply I found that democracy could be one of the solutions but not the only one. We have the laws that allow for democracy regardless of this Emergency law issue. I believe if it was a democratic country, only the people who are calling for it would benefit from it and the rest won't care. People are passive and there is a popular saying here in Egypt with a literal translation of "Silence is a sign of acceptance." I am now starting to believe that the people in Egypt chose Mubarak. I have to accept the majority's choice. Even though I agree that government is oppressive and a tyrant one, the responsibility of the passive people is not to be ignored nevertheless. I remember the elections day

It can't be denied that the ruling regime probably will not want the people of this country to stand to it. This is because they are already there. They are protecting their existence, whether it is legitimate or not. If any kind of danger compromises the existence of a living organism, it will act to protect itself against the source danger. In our case, the existence of the regime is somehow threatened by these demonstrations and minor uprising, but not severely susceptible to any kind of a severe blow because of the inappropriateness of the size of objection.

It is now the duty of all those who are aware of this fact to educate others about it. I think political movements like kifaya or other parties should direct its effort to the real people of Egypt otherwise they are just wasting their time, money, efforts and dignity. This is the most serious problem. The connection with people has to be reestablished and then dig deeper into the real people of Egypt. (To be continued)