Murad Family Barbecue: True Hospitality for IT Community in Egypt

Mostafa Murad, a great UI designer whom I’ve worked with in two companies, was having a BIG dish party yesterday. Maybe in the occasion of himself recently becoming a team leader in ITWorx or just out of hospitality. He put few simple rules (I’m quoting him here):

  • It is not solely barbecue anymore, you are free to bring whatever food you like.
  • You are free to invite your friends or family members. Many people will bring their spouses and children. There is a big clean garden which is very suitable for children.
  • We’ll have football competitions etc

He made a Google Spreadsheet Guest book, where you put your name, your favorite food, whether you have a car or not, how many friends/family members you are getting with you, and, how many kids are coming with you as well.

It was GREAT. The garden was SO BIG. There were over 50+ guys out there: .NET/Flash developers, graphic/web/UI designers, QA, Project Managers, and many other roles, from a number of well known software companies in Egypt, like ITWorx, LinkDev, ITS, SilverKey (myself), and other companies I guess.

All the guys were very cool. The day started with all cars meeting in 2 queues at start place from 10 to 11 AM to pick the guys with no cars (like me) and move together.  The queue I joined consisted of around 4+ cars.The guys I joined had good taste in music that I enjoyed selective choices for Mohamed Mounir and Fayrouz along the way to the farm where the party did go. The way itself was pretty interesting and unfamiliar to number of us!

Mostafa Murad, Osama Murad (my ex-team leader in GNS, currently working in LinkDev), and some kind family lady did a superior job in hospitalizing the crud. We had around 5 kinds of breakfast food, then, went to Friday Prayer (Gomaa) in the near mosque, coming back to play word games, some moved better than the rest to play football and Tennis, afterwards, grilling around 4 kinds of meat and 2 or more kinds of flies, while the family ladies were working on some other 4+ other kinds of dishes. It was AMAZING. You can see a bunch of the the hungry near the END of distorting all the food!

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After the food, we managed to take care of around 6 kinds of drinks (apart from tea and coffee, those were available all day long), and around 6 kinds of fruit and later some huge amount of oriental sweets and some tasty cake. It’s funny to see that we are the same guys who were praying Aasr just before the attack!

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Of course this is not all of us. There was number of Christians, number of girls, women and children, and other Muslims who didn’t catch this line by the time of the picture.

As I mentioned, we had much fun. We just went mad all over figuring out something to play, playing with each other either word games or sports, and playing with the VERY CUTE little kids that were there (especially Yasine, this little hero rocks!). We had different talks about general stuff in Egypt, and -of course- our software industry and career talk and stuff. It was hard to resist the idea of going in starting our own company having people of all needed roles there already. Some guys suggested that we can call it “El Mazra’a” (the farm) company!

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The farm itself was sooo great place to rest in. Very comfortable. I do not know how this can be described, but, they say a picture is worth thousand words:

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I think I fell asleep sometime near by “El Maghreb” prayer! It was very great to find this great place to just forget about everything and have some true rest.

Actually, the whole thing was pretty new to me. This is a little near the number of guys we had in the first SilverKey Public DemoDay event. It really felt like an event to me, not only including certain category of people (developers, designers, ..), but, all over the various industry roles. I tend to believe that hardly any other person than Mostafa Murad and his fame (with the great aid of Osama Murad and other Murad family members) would be able to gather all this amount of people in one place. This is such a TRUE community activity going around, and a HUGE step that any community activity in Egypt should consider.

 

Thanks a lot Mostafa and Osama for this great day and the great hospitality. It was a great day and a very nice move from you all.

I now wear a ring. It has Mona’s name on it. THIS IS BIG!

Introduction

In Egyptian Developers Conference (EDC) 2008 this April, my geek network noticed a very nice, cute, and sweet little girl with me that I was very proud to introduce not just as one of the cleverest developers in SilverKey, but also as my life mate, my fiancée. Not sure if any of you noticed that by then, although being engaged, we were not wearing rings, yet!

Well, WE DID FEW HOURS AGO! Yes, I now wear a ring with Mona’s name on it. What a pleasure that is? To understand, you just need to meet her once. I’ll try to give a VERY limited summary of it.

Getting deep into the picture

Mona is a solid geek who just “gets it” when it comes to C# 3.0, jQuery or ASP.NET MVC and all this patterns stuff. That’s easy to guess about my fiancée and is very true about Mona. However, this is a VERY MINOR great thing about her, and didn’t get much of my attention because it is one of near infinity (at least I’m discovering new great thing every other situation/talk). Besides being so smart and having this great look that makes you feel so calm and comfortable when seeing her, she also has a TRUE pure soul that accepts no harm to anybody on earth and perfectly matches her soft but not easily to be broken nature. Somehow, she merges all this with such a cool nature with a great sense of humor, all this with a very admirable respect to herself being a moderate Muslim.

She has an impossible combination of great talents, skills and natures that I only mentioned the very basic ones of. You can add to that impressing wisdom, talk about a hundred type of kindness, or go talk about the sweetness that shows in every movement or word that comes out of her. I’d dedicate a series of blog posts to talk about each of her greatness as I “mentally” measure them vs. tons of other people I met in my life, counting males and females of all ages, starting at age 8 and above (say in cuteness/sweetness, …) going through 20s to 40s (say in beauty and humor, …) to 50s and counting (say in kindness and wisdom, …). This got me to a conclusion that such person is very rare to happen to exist in the entire world not just in my life.

The Big Pre-Event

So, now that such a rare existing person accepted to spend the rest of her life with such a normal guy whose only good thing is being just another geek of thousands around the world and in Egypt, that is something that makes me so proud.

Having the symbol of it in her hand having my name on it is a true charm that will help me wait the months it takes till we are married and living in the same house. Another wonderful thing is that I now “wear her name” in my hand represented by the ring that has just few hours ago got into my right hand and will hopefully soon move to the left one.

Thank you very much, Mona, for showing yourself in my life. Thank you way more for accepting sharing your valuable life with me. This is the favor of my entire lifetime. I know I cannot reward you for it whatever I do, so, all promise is to still try my best.

I love you, my little sweet cute smart girl.

Thanks again.

Mobinil Paid WiFi for Cafes in Egypt – I want my FREE WiFi back, without bugging

Mobinil, one of the 3 mobile phone networks in Egypt, owned by the same owner of Link dot NET, one of the leading ISPs in Egypt as well have come with a WiFi service for cafes, just like other ISPs provide.

When I’m in a cafe, I just use the Internet connection that the cafe provides via their ISP WiFi, and that’s it. I do NOT have to pay extra money for the Internet service. I do NOT have to register my Email and mobile phone number anywhere. I do NOT have to buy scratchy charge/balance cards like those for mobile phone credit. This is how it has been for years.

Mobinil screwed that all.

To get to the Internet in cafe, you have to do this the first time you connect:

  • Register your Email and mobile phone number
    • Refresh the page (clearly hosted by Link dot NET) if you get this exception
      mobinil2
      I’ll not get into the details of how horrible  is getting much detail of an exception. It’s not the first time.
  • Wait for the activation code to come (As SMS to your mobile phone, because you have no email, as you have no Internet yet)
    • MY friend did not get his activation code, in this case you call the customer service land line number to get the code.
  • Activate the service using the code, and then sign in to the service page (although you have just activated your account, they don’t know who you are).
  • Use a promotional free 2-hours card to access the Internet (clearly for only 2 hours).

Every time you want to connect to the Internet from a cafe, you have to:

  • Buy a card similar to the ugly scratchy cards you buy for you mobile phone credit
    • The packages available are:
      • 2 hours for 10 EGP
      • 10 hours for 50 EGP
      • 130 hours for 150 EGP
  • Sign in to the service
  • Enter not only the PIN code hidden under the scratch here part, but also a card serial number that’s even very hard to see.
    • I could not see the serial number for how small it is. My friend read it for me.
    • Here’s how the card looks like. The blue rectangle is the PIN code and the green rectangle is the serial number.
      cardBack - Copy
  • Use the Internet finally with the amount of hours you paid for. In my experience, the speed looked like 256Kb or 384Kb max, but maybe this is different from cafe to another or whatever.

For everybody who reads this, is this normal ? Is it a very popular style in so many countries ? I used to go to a respectable cafe paying certain amount of money for my coffee to get extra customer services. Not only that they get me AC and will not kick me out as soon as I finish the coffee, but also that I can get my FREE Internet.

Clearly Mobinil is able to replace other ISPs for cafe Internet, and has already acquired the big name cafes that I know. This is too bad.

 

I want my FREE cafe Internet back!! It has been there for years, and there’s no reason I have to let it go now.

 

Hopefully the other Internet providers will recover this somehow, otherwise, there should be sort of strong petition or stopping going to cafes with this service or such.

 

[Non-Tech] Quotes

This is collected from some quotes sent in dotNETreporter.com‘s “Weekly Top Posts” newsletter messages in the past months, in no particular order:

  • “Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” (Mark Twain)
  • “The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore. (Dale Carnegie)
  • “The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.” (Confucious)
  • “The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.” (Confucious)
  • “The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “History is strewn thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill, but a lie, well told, is immortal.” (Mark Twain)
  • “Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Study the past if you would divine the future.” (Confucious)
  • “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure.” (Mark Twain)
  • “Politics is far more complicated than physics.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” (Mark Twain)
  • “Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”  (Confucious)
  • “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.” (Confucious)
  • “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “If we knew what we were doing it wouldn’t be research.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance.” (Albert Einstein)
  • Accident is the name of the greatest of all inventors. (Mark Twain)
  • “Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count, really count.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” (Mark Twain)
  • “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” (Mark Twain
  • “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” (Mark Twain)
  • “Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.” (Confucious)
  • “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” (Confucious)
  • “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” (Confucious)
  • “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.” (Confucious)
  • “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” (Mark Twain)
  • “If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” (Mark Twain)
  • “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.” (Confucious)
  • “It is easier to stay out than get out.” (Mark Twain)
  • “You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” (Dale Carnegie)
  • “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “The only source of knowledge is experience.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” (Mark Twain)
  • “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.” (Mark Twain)

 

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On Vacation Till June 3rd, 2008

In case any of you has been wondering why I’m not blogging so lately although I have many topics interested in (See my Google Reader Shared Items), and have already mentioned topics I should be blogging about, I was getting many "last minutes" exams and quizes lately at university.

This is going to remain for a while. I’m having exams May 21st to June 3rd, and already had vacation from work that has just started. The same applies to blogging I guess, but with small difference, that sometimes while getting too bored of all the circuits and communications stuff I have to study (I’m in last year of computer engineering major), I may just come up writing something very quick into this blog.

This is hopefully my last term at university. Hopefully I will not have to write similar posts afterwards. Instead, I believe I’ll have some way better news in different areas ;-). (If God Will).

Wish me luck.

Another Fancy Birthday -Or- Thank you again, SilverKey, & Facebook Friends :)

 Today is my 22nd birthday. Since yesterday, I have been feeling like a celebrity :) :). I could no longer count the wall posts about it. All the great people to thank :).

Also, I knew the habit in SilverKey is having a great birthday party for each and every one of us. Today was even more special than my previous one! More than 20 guys and gals around me with very large amount of sweat cakes. We had nice photos (that will take my dear colleagues months to put on facebook of course, LOL). We had really fun. It was the first day for our new colleague, Amr, who seems to be an interesting guy really.

 So, to all the guys in SilverKey (Egypt and Azerbaijan), and all my friends on facebook whether technical guys and ex-work mates, concert/reading friends, or , great performer. I’m not sure what word can be enough to thank you all. Thanks a million, a billion, for giving me that funny celebrity feeling :D