As an audio recorder, producer, editor, and overall manipulator, Audacity is one of my most important tools (more on my whole multimedia workflow to come in a subsequent post). I have been using it for so many years, I’ve lost count. Before Audacity, Adobe Audition was my staple, as was Cool Edit (all the way back to ’96) before it was bought by Adobe. I have come to miss very little from Audition in recent versions of Audacity, and since I’ve committed myself completely to free software, Audacity has been then to help me along the way.
I don’t really have much else to say, but I did want to go ahead and point it out, draw your attention to it, and, also, finally get back into blogging! Look for more on the way.
الحد لله, Allāh has granted me tawfīq to donate to Wikipedia. I wouldn’t mention this except for the fact that I hope others, upon reading this, might give it consideration when they otherwise would not have. A donation to Wikipedia is tax-deductible, so you can save on your taxes or get more back on them (depending on your situation). Ultimately, though, the reason why projects like Wikipedia and related Wikimedia Foundation projects should be supported are as I described in my comment upon donating:
Wikipedia and its related projects represent an ideal world where knowledge & information are not controlled to give power only to the few, but rather, they empower the many, ultimately benefiting the world as a whole.
So, if you have the ability, then I strongly encourage you to take the time out to donate to help support Wikipedia and its sister sites.
Alḥamdulillāh, Moodle 2.0 has been released! This is important for a lot of reasons, amongst them being that I work with Moodle on a day-to-day basis in my daytime job, and I use it on some of my own sites. However, most important is the fact that Moodle provides a platform for education that is free-as-in-freedom and the community supports this philosophy through-and-through.
Moodle 2.0 brings an incredibly wide range of new features and capabilities that further extend what is possible. I personally have worked on some of the new features in a minor capacity – both in submitting bug reports as well as helping to implement some milestones in line with what we needed at work.
Moodle is used on countless sites to provide education and share knowledge in every corner of the world. So, congratulations to the Moodle team and to the world for this great step forward!
الحمد الله, and finally, I upgrade my blog to WordPress 3.0.1. With two boys, our own apartment, full time work, and a few other things (including some motivation issues) I am finding it hard to keep up old habits, despite a desire to continue doing so.
Finding my blog so outdated, though, I wanted to take a step to rectify that, and since HidayahTech is currently running on my ancient server alfaatihah.hidayahonline.net (it’s the first server I ever leased…got it back in August 2004), maintaining software on here is growing more-and-more painful. I greatly want to move all my sites over to my new server, zaytoon.hidayahonline.net (the current home for Audio Islam, as many of the other sites I host), but that task, too, is proving to be long-running, without only little bits of progress here-and-there from time-to-time. I suppose that is a topic for another post. At least HidayahTech is finally a part of the modern era once again!
Incidentally, we all ran into different kinds of problems, doing what should have been a rather simple task. The sources of the problems ranged from simple bugs to rather weird video formats. In this post I will discussed the various issues that I personally encountered and how, alhamdulillaah, was able to overcome them.
Alhamdulillaah, Fedora 13 has been released! Torrents (on a newly redesigned torrent page) are also available. Not a bad way to get back into blogging, either. Look for more updates soon, in shaaʾ Allaah.
Alhamdulillaah, I’ve decided to get back into blogging. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve had much of a presence in the Blogoverse, and part of that is due to just not having the desire to go through, login, and making a post through the traditional WordPress administrative interface. However, until now, I still have not found a blogging client with which I’m totally satisfied. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and give lekhonee another shot.
One aspect for which I have not made an opinion yet is that the interface is basically plain text, and it allows you to post in raw HTML, which isn’t terrible. However, having a rich-text editor really isn’t that difficult to add, so, I’ll just have to see if it’s worth it or not. So, let’s see how it works-out.
Alḥamdulillāh, I’ve just successfully upgraded my blog to WordPress 2.8.2, along with several other blogs that I maintain. I’m really looking forward to the merger of WordPress & WordPress-MU, which, ideally, will make managing multiple WordPress sites on the same server easier to deal with, in shāʾ Allāh.
Alhamdulillaah, I’ve discovered a new WordPress blogging client packaged with Fedora – namely, Lekhonee. There aren’t a lot of formatting options, but it appears you can post using HTML, so that’s a plus, I think. Let’s see how it goes.
Alhamdulillaah, I’ve successfully loaded the Fedora 11 Beta Live CD onto an SD card. This allows me to boot directly from the card using my USB card reader, much as if it were a USB key/flash drive. In short, after a few attempts, everything just works.
Alhamdulillaah, I am quite pleased with the following HDR image I was able to assemble. While not as good as the best that are out there, it is definitely a step-up from my other attempt I shared here.
Alhamdulillaah, to my pleasant surprise, I discovered that I started using Fedora personally with Fedora Core 4, and not 5 like I had previously thought. This makes me feel better as I’m glad I started using Fedora earlier, because I like to think I recognized the importance of a completely (or as close as possible) free operating system (free here means freedom, not just free of cost).
I have the bad habit of starting things and not completing them. This is bad for numerous reasons, just a few of which I’ll list shortly. I will warn you now that as this post is meant to help me organize my thoughts, it will list-heavy, as I do find lists and other types of grouping structures to be beneficial and help in making relationships (e.g., database schemes).
I already know that as I type this I will revisit this post in the future as I will be unable, in one sitting, to be think of all of unfinished projects. Therefore, I will come back and add to the list as I recall more things (and find the time and desire, a rare combination these days, to update the blog).
Unfinished projects tend to clutter your mind
I tend to turn to unfinished projects whenever I work (i.e., get paid to do something) and hit a stumbling block. This severely hinders my progress on work, which ultimately leads to less getting done.
Time when I could be brainstorming solutions is usually spent wondering about these myriad unfinished projects, which, lacking much focus, tend to yield few to no tangible solutions. This includes walking/riding to the masjid, showering, and other activities that tend to leave the brain free and, ideally, well-suited for addressing beneficial thoughts.
If I try to focus on something, I can have a hard time preventing my mind from wandering to these unfinished projects. This is related to the point about work above.
It’s just not healthy to have so many things on the mind at once. There is a point at which the benefit of multitasking is overshadowed by the overhead of just trying to keep track of everything. It’s not efficient.
Having so many unfinished projects means that it can be hard to pick just one to work on.
Playing catch-up may give a false sense of achievement, because the value of these unfinished projects are not equal, and therefore, I may complete one that is really not that important while one that is more valuable was never completed. Therefore, just trying to clear out the backlog of projects may yield a net result of close to zero.
There are many more, and I may amend this list in the future as I recall them.
So, here is the list of my unfinished projects (at least those that I can recall at one point or another). I am including some thoughts on the different ideas as well.
Redesign the Audio Islam website
Write a script to automatically tag all the audio files, especially the ones containing Qurʾān recitation, with reciter & sūrah information
The Fedora Documentation manpage coverage project
This is basically an idea I had related to the Fedora Documentation project to ensure that all executables had an associated man page (manual page, a low-level documentation system for Unix-like operating systems such as GNU/Linux).
The first step in this is to canvass the existing packages & executables and see what already has a man page. I have already started on this, but there is much work left to be done.
There are plenty of sources for documentation that can be used as baseline manpages, including the Debian project. So, this project doesn’t require as much work as it does just coordinating and facilitating.
A Paltalk replacement
Paltalk is a voice conference & chat application (video is also supported, but I don’t care about that right now) that is widely used, but terribly proprietary.
My goal is to create or synthesize a replacement for Paltalk using only free software and open technologies
The best candidates for this are SIP (for multimedia) and Jabber/XMPP (for text chat).
The landscape for software that can do this in a simple fashion is rather bleak, but there are some solutions.
I’m currently focused on FreeSWITCH as the SIP server and ejabberd as the chat backend.
Linking them such that it will be one service will be quite challenging, and still requires a free software client that has solid support for both SIP & XMPP
I’ve been looking mostly at Qutecom, SIP Communicator, and Psi
On GNU/Linux, the Empathy client for the Telepathy framework is outstanding, but, is limited to free-software operating systems. I think Windows support is a long way out still.
AlMaghrib in Malaysia
I am trying to catalyze the establishment of AlMaghrib Institute seminars in Malaysia (almost surely in Kuala Lumpur, at least at the beginning).
I’ve already purchased the domains almaghribinmalaysia.com/net/org, and I just need to get the site setup.
To start off, I think just a blog with some information about AlMaghrib is fine. It can be fleshed-out later.
Alḥamdulillāh, there is already a lot of interest both within and without Malaysia. I have several contacts here that are also excited and may be able to facilitate the first few steps.
I see the first step being getting a group of excited & enthusiastic locals to get behind the effort.
After that group is identified (and it is really an ongoing process), see about getting the support of existing organizations.
From an initial perspective, it seems like this is going to be easy, in shāʾ Allāh.
With this support, we will want to schedule some kind of event to gain a wider audience interest. Something like a conference or teaser seminar, perhaps a week-long program with some of the AlMaghrib instructors.
Many of the AlMaghrib instructors are already known or well-known here
Having Suhaib Webb might be particularly nice, as his wife is Malaysian.
Waleed Basyouni has expressed an interest in coming to Malaysia, and some work is already in progress regarding that, but it may have stalled (temporarily only, in shāʾ Allāh)
Yasir Qadhi is another instructor that has some reknown here, apparently (from what I’ve been told).
My own technology consulting business
Although HidayahTech is currently the name of my blog, I have also resolved to use this as the name for my own consulting business.
Services will include
Audio recording, editing, mastering, and production (I did this, for example, for the Texas Dawah Convention in 2007)
I am consider splitting this and other audio-related services into it’s own business, namely, Hidayah Audio
Hosting (this is generally quite easy)
Moodle (an open-source learning mangement system, for putting schools online, for example)
Audio services, including hosting my “replacement for Paltalk” solution above
This will include a wide variety of services ranging from system administration, general IT, infrastructure, to web development
I may take some partners or hire some friends for this aspect of this business, as I will need help for some points of it
This is my premiere project, if I had to pick one. I consider this to be something great if I can achieve it, by the Permission of Allāh.
To sum it up, I want to develop a system whereby Muslims (and truly, anyone) can homeschool their own children easily. Homeschooling may be too specific of a term, though, because I want the scale to include a plan that can be implemented by governments. I would like children, and really anyone, to be able to be educated within their own homes, utilizing the bevy of technology that exists.
Technology creates options & opportunities, and this is a belief I take strongly. Therefore, I think we should utilize it. I see education as one of the most important investments that can be made, whether it is Islamic or related to the worldly sciences, both of which are important. I actually believe the distinction to be artificial, but it will take time to get there.
So, to put it in a few words, I would like to develop a system of education leveraging technology that is globally accessible allowing education to be released from the confines of school buildings.
Learn the Python programming language
I think learning Python has a high return value on the types of applications I would like to write, including graphical ones. Also, it is quite the preferred language for many platforms, not the least of which is Red Hat & Fedora.
Memorize the Qurʾān
Please keep in mind that this list isn’t in order of importance…;)
I think this is a goal every Muslim should have. I started this goal, seriously, while I was staying in Egypt with my parents, even semi-regularly visiting the imān of the nearby masjid to review my memorization. Sadly, since arriving in Malaysia I’ve not really resumed, and I am afraid I may start regressing. This is the kind of project that can be achieved through a little, regular & constant work every day. I really should commit to something, even if it is as simple as one āyāh per day. That would be better than none.
Note: This is for future reference as I try to make some progress on an old project. I do not think the last value is a default for Fedora, but rather, something added later. If someone knows otherwise, please correct me!
Update: I’m starting to dislike fixed-width templates…corrected the last $PATH value so it will fit on my blog without overflowing into CSS “Elsewhere”.
Update 2: Ahhh! WordPress! WYSIWYG, not WIWIWYG (What I Want is Why You Get)!
Note: This is a post I started writing back in November, but only got around to updating now.
Alhamdulillaah, I cannot believe I’ve lived for so long without knowing about screen (Wikipedia article). To put it as simple as possible, think of screen as a “tabbed” interface for terminals/shells. This is a weak analogy, however, because it enables so much more than tabs do for browsers, for example. Onwards for more details. Continue reading “screen is my new best friend”