Late new year’s resolution

I’m 2 months late to put a new year’s resolution but the idea hit me couple of hours ago. I was thinking about how to reorganize my life and plan forward for the coming few years, but I remembered that I didn’t even write a new year’s resolution since 2008.

anyway, better late than never. so here’s my list for the coming 10 months:

  • Ballet dancing! (turned to be a bad idea)
  • use Nodejs in a real project
  • reach a satisfying decision about the best way to structure an MV* frontend JavaScript app
  • build a mobile web app
  • build 2 mobile apps for Android with the same features and look. one as a native app, and the other as a hybrid app to compare both methods realistically
  • work on my UI design skills for web and mobile
  • read more about product design and UX research
  • buy a bike to use for daily transportations in Cairo
  • buy a new phone and give my 2 years old phone to my young brother or sister
  • go to gym (a big lie .. but I have to list it anyway)
  • start writing again for PHP Master
  • write a new blog post here each week
  • try to remember parent’s birthdays early enough (mom: Aug 7th & dad: Oct 9) to get them presents. I never did!
  • travel to another country for some days
  • learn to cook healthy food and try to stop eating fast food as much as possible
  • redesign this blog
  • stop caring about what others say or think about me
  • memorize and understand part of Quran
  • start a strict saving plan and pay all my debt

This isn’t everything on my mind, but I think this list is enough to keep me busy till the end of year. hope I will do +90% of all that -isA-.

Introduction to MongoDB [PHPMaster]

This is kinda old news for some of you. My 2nd PHPMaster article was published like a month ago but I forgot to write about it here. This time it’s a step by step introduction to using MongoDB in PHP.

In this article I’ll introduce you to NoSQL with MongoDB. You’ll learn how to install the MongoDB extension for PHP, and how to add, update, and retrieve document objects. If you’re used to working with RDBMSs like MySQL or PostgreSQL, you’ll find some of the concepts of working with MongoDB a bit strange, but you’ll soon grow to love the flexibility and power that MongoDB gives you!

You can read the article here and wait for the 2nd part which is scheduled to be published on jan 20, 2012 (published: MongoDB Revisited). it will discuss more advanced topics that you will need in real life projects.

 

New article on PhpMaster.com about Zend_Pdf

I wrote a new article about using Zend_Pdf , which was published on PhpMaster.com days ago.

The PDF format is currently the most used format to exchange documents. If you provide your website users with printable versions of invoices, event tickets and other similar documents, you’ll most likely want to generate them as PDFs on the fly. In this article you will see how you can use Zend_Pdf to auto-generate PDF invoices.

I’m glad to write for the first time for PhpMaster, Sitepoint.com ‘s PHP blog. I have been reading their online content and books since 2005 and having the chance to write for them now is an honer.

check the article there.

When Army officers break promises – #ArmyViolations

Egyptians went out to streets on Jan 25, 2011 peacefully trying to bring a regime down and get their freedom and dignity back. after 18 days, Mubarak leaved the presidential palace and moved all his authorities to SCAF (Super Counsel of Armed Forces). more people went out to streets celebrating their victory and SCAF started by talking about how the bad era just ended and how they will start to a new era of respect, freedom and real democracy.

Unfortunately, the dream didn’t continue for so long and things didn’t go like what SCAF promised. we started to see news about how the army forced 18 women protesters to undergo virginity tests. Army started to deal aggressively with citizens like what police used to do before Jan 25. Army started to attack protesters in Tahrir square every night and arrested many citizens and they were trialed infront of military courts.

On the first day of Ramadan (Aug 1, 2011), hundreds of Army soldiers with many police soldiers attacked the protesters camping in Tahrir square and arrested 111 of them who were released after 2 days. there were some videos and blog posts by protesters that show how Army treated protesters violently.

These violent acts were repeated again during the fifth day of Ramadan (Aug 5, 2011). citizens organized a group Iftar which let Muslims and  Christians have a chance to eat together in Tahrir square after fasting all day. army soldiers were ordered to attack these citizens again after moments of finishing eating their Iftar.

This blog post is part of an initiative to blog about Egyptian Army violations. all what we want our Army to remember is that “your mission is to protect me, not to erase me”.

We respect those soldiers and officers who protect our borders and I was one of them before, but this doesn’t give them the right to treat citizens like that.  we are all live in this country and have the same rights and every one deserves to be respected whether if he agrees with the decisions of the SCAF or not.

Remember that you promised to protect this revolution and remember that Army ethics tells you .. never break a promise and never betray your people.

ramdan-army-attacking-citizen

Ramdan - Army soldiers attacking citizen

TEDxCairo 2011 – Resurrection – part 2

note: If you you didn’t read the first part.

Half a kiss – Ahmed Abdalla

Ahmed Abdalla - half a kiss

Ahmed Abdalla - half a kiss by @ahmednaguib

Abdalla is a Film Editor, Writer and Director. He started talking about his latest Film “Microphone” and how someone on twitter sent him saying that he likes his film but he didn’t like the kiss. Abdalla replied with a ” ??! “, then the guy replied back “don’t get me wrong, I like the film, it’s just the kiss that made me feel bad and it would be better if you remove it”. Abdalla replied “actually, there were no kiss in the film”. Abdalla started showing us the part of the film that the guy was talking about. it looked like it’s a fast shot that faked a kiss, but really there were no kiss. he said that we can say that this was a half kiss.

Abdalla continues, TV and Other media used to tell us that the originator is someone supernatural and no one can innovate like him and you can’t disagree with his ideas, as there are those who innovate and those who receive this innovation and accept it without asking or trying to make their own innovations. Technology now broke the rule and allowed every person to write, record songs or make movies and publish his innovations online. my film “Microphone” was made using small photography cameras and I didn’t study cinema before, but this didn’t mean that I can’t make a full film. the environment that we live in affects us in good and bad ways,the idea behind “Microphone” started by one tweet with 140 characters from someone unknown, it could be anyone of you who sent that tweet.

When we talk about film censorship, most of you will think about censoring sexual scenes. before the Egyptian revolution this wasn’t the reality as it was easy to pass scenes like that. what we need now is to make people the real eye that can say if something is good or bad, but before that we have to have clear vision and rules, I’m standing or not standing, we want to build our country or not, this is a kiss or not a kiss as there is nothing called half kiss.

My comment

Entertaining with a good idea. Abdalla used part from his film with music in the background while he was talking which gave the attendees better experience.

Volunteerism – Sherif Abdel Azeem

Sherif Abadel Azeem - Volunteerism

Sherif Abdel Azeem - Volunteerism by @ahmednaguib

Sherif is the founder of Resala NGO. he started by telling a story that happened to him while he was studding in USA … I was studding in USA when I met American woman that asked me where are you from and when she knew that I’m from Egypt, she told me “oh, I know Egypt, I used to send money to help poor people there”. I thought about this and said why do those people who aren’t Egyptians help our poor people while we don’t. today, when you ask someone about if he is a patriot or not? he will respond “yes I’m. I stand for more than 90 minutes in the stadium chanting for our national football team”. this is how most of us think about patriotism. for me, patriotism is to help 100 of those homeless people in your country. the real positive patriotic feeling is to do things that law doesn’t force you to do and it originates from your desire to help your country and your people. from my travels around the world, I found that the most positive act is the continues volunteerism. the American citizen gives an average of 5 hours weekly to volunteerism without being forced to do so.

I co-founded Resalty NGO with my friends in Cairo University’s faculty of Engineering years agoز we started by building an orphanage and a center to teach people how to use computers then started a blood donation project and there are many other projects that came after these. Resala NGO has 55 branches around Egypt till now and this is the biggest voluntary project in the Middle East.

You can’t say that you can’t volunteer. if you know how to read, learn other how to read. even if you can’t do this simple thing, just donate blood, every one of us is an inactive volunteer but someone had to wake that volunteer up.

My comment

The first perfect talk after Fadel’s talk. I liked the presentation of the idea and how Sherif played around the fact that we are all volunteers and this is a reality that most of us forgot.

What if machines think? – Haytham Fadeel

haytham elfadeel - what if machines think?

Haytham Fadeel-what if machines think? by @ahmednaguib

Haytham started by talking about this childhood and machines .. since I was a little kid, I always couldn’t stop thinking about the perfect machine. I tried throughout the last few years to work on building the smart machine that can think. human brain is very powerful and smart, it doesn’t just store data, it can understand data and connect these data together to make conclusions that can help it to take decisions when needed. my current project Kngine.com is a smart search engine that will understand your questions and try to find the best answer. it’s not like other search engines that only try to find the words you are searching for. the ideas behind Kngine is that we already have billions of pages online with huge amount of information that we can feed to our smart machine, this will enable our machine to be smart enough to help us in the future to solve big problems that we can’t solve.

The next part of the project is to make Kngine smart enough to give us personalized answers. each one of you will have a user account to login to Kngine and when you ask Kngine a question, it will try to find the best answer depending on the information that it knows about you. this is the future of smart machines.

My comment

Haytham is another smart Egyptian that we can be proud of. this wasn’t the first time I know about Kngine and I was already using long time ago, but I enjoyed his talk and I found the many of the attendees got exited and said that they will make Kngine their main search engine instead of Google.

The day when the people changed – Fatma Said

fatma said - the day when the people changed

Fatma Said by @ahmednaguib

Awesome song about the Egyptian Jan 25 revolution that will make you drop some tears and forget all those weak songs that couldn’t be innovative enough to describe these great historical days. I hope this one will be on TV soon.


Forgetful and forgotten – Yasmin Said

Yasmin Said - forgetful and forgotten

Yasmin Said - forgetful and forgotten by @ahmednaguib

Yasmin Said is a biological scientist that has interest in Alzheimer disease. she started talking about her experience working at  an elderly psychiatric disease unit in a Hospital in USA .. this was my first time to work in a unit like that. this unit was the most quiet and isolated place in the hospital. the only mission of the unit is to give intensive care and observing the patients 24/7.

Most of us don’t understand the meaning of Alzheimer and mix it with the normal fact that we forget every day. the reality is that Alzheimer patients forget forever and whatever they forget, they never remember again. Alzheimer patients are always confused and don’t like being with people, they forget and never remember even simple small things like how to eat or that they need to eat. they lose memory daily until they never remember anything at all and start living in their empty world where they don’t know anyone one or anything.

Alzheimer is classified as the disaster of the era as the number of patients is growing around the world and there still no cure for it. imagine if someone in your family or anyone you love is losing her life every day, she will never remember you or her best memories and will live in that darkness forever while you are watching and you know that you can’t do anything to help her.

Alzheimer patient is someone who lost and forgot every thing, but he is still a human and we should never forget him.

My comment

I talked with some of the attendees and a number of them didn’t like it that much but didn’t hate it at the same time. they wanted to see something more related to the spirit of Egyptian revolution or at least they would have preferred if Yasmin linked that to a philosophical view about the Egyptians before and after the revolution. I respect their opinions but I still see this as a good TED talk that delivers a simple but great message. Yasmin helped me see how dangerous is the disease and enhanced my views regarding how we should care about these people and the importance of spreading the word about it.

“1/4 gram” message – Essam Youssef

Essam Youseef - 1/4 gram

Essam Youseef - 1/4 gram by @ahmednaguib

Essam is the author of Egypt’s best selling realistic novel “1/4 gram”. Essam starts .. The main problem with drugs is that drugs are very entertaining and awesome. if drugs weren’t that good, we wouldn’t have seen people die to get it. The drug addict will face the reality that drugs aren’t just entertaining but it can kill too, after seeing one of his friends die after taking an extra drugs dose. he will later try to convince himself that his dead friend didn’t take enough, and he will take care in the future to not die like him. that drugs addict won’t be able to stop and his end will be either getting arrested or dieing.

23 billion Egyptian pounds were spent in Egypt in 2010 on drugs. The number of drug dealers in Egypt can totally fill Cairo’s football stadium and every dealer has hundreds of drug addicts who buy from him. the latest statistics about drugs addicts in Egypt says that the average age of drug addicts in Egypt is 11 years. we have millions of drug addicts in Egypt while we only have 350 beds in our hospitals for them.

Currently I’m trying to focus my efforts on this cause and I don’t have enough time to follow politics, I have a mission that I believe that accomplishing it can help my country be better. I see humans and money get lost every day because of drugs and we invest more to help those addicts and educating our new generation to stay away from it. finally, I want to say that if I make it someday to heaven, I will ask God for just 2 grams, I’m sure drugs won’t have bad side effects there.

My comment

People loved Essam and his talk and this is another prove that being super funny during your talk can make you a winner. I’m used to seeing people talk about the bad things about drugs but this was the most entertaining one and I believe that if you deliver a message while keeping the audience entertained, your message will have a better effect. I think that Essam should do this talk again at schools, students will love how he speaks and he will be able to deliver the message to them more than those other boring lectures.

__________________

This was the last talk in the second session at TEDxCairo 2011, will try to put the talks of the third session in part 3, isA.