Donate to Wikipedia

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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.

Updated to WordPress 3.0.1

بسم الله الرحمن الريم

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Finding my blog so outdated, though, I wanted to take a step to rectify that, and since HidayahTech is currently running on my ancient server alfaatihah.hidayahonline.net (it’s the first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!

It’s a boy, the sequel!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحد لله, on Friday, the 11th of Shaʿbān, 1431 (23rd of July, 2010), at 12:40 AM local Columbus time, Allāh blessed us with a healthy, 6 lbs, 14 oz blessing that we’ve named عبد الله (ʿAbdullāh), which, in Arabic, means, “slave of Allāh” (Allāh being the proper name of God).  For the very same reason we’ve named our first son ʿAbdurraḥmān, we chose this name for our second son, in reference to the following ḥadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah, salallaahu ʿalayhi wa sallam:

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Book 025, Number 5315:
Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The names dearest to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Rahman. (link)

Both mother & new son are doing very well, walḥamdulillāh.  The birth of Abdullah was a bit special as we chose to have him delivered at home (i.e., a home birth), and that turned out to be an excellent and blessed decision, alḥamdulillāh.

Note: I strongly apologize for the delay in announcing this birth.  Please forgive us and do not let it detract from your duʿaaʾ for him. No special reason for the delay except that I wanted to have this post ready first. 🙂

Note 2: You can see the announcement for our first son here.

Note 3: You can see the birth of ʿAbdurraḥmān noted here.

Testing with lekhonee one more time…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalaamu ʿalaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh

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.

Blogging with Arabic text

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحد لله, I am trying more-and-more these days to practice writing Arabic with actual Arabic letters rather than using cumbersome transliterations.  This is partially due to my father’s abhorrence of transliterating Arabic, lest the skill to actually write Arabic in Arabic be lost.  I agree with him, and besides, it’s a great way to learn the language and get used to using it.  So, as much as possible, I’m going to try to start using more-and-more Arabic, where appropriate, in my typing, by using the actual Arabic letters, إن شاء الله.  If anyone has any questions about what a particular Arabic phrase is, then please post your question.  I will try to include a simple glossary.  Some autolinking would be great, too…let me look for a WordPress plugin for that…

More updates to blog, switching to GPL theme

Bismillāhir Raḥmānir Raḥīm

Alḥamdulillāh, I’ve decided that, after upgrading WordPress, I should do a little housekeeping.  As usual, I find a list best presents the ideas I wish to express:

  • I upgraded to WordPress 2.8.2 (mentioned here).
  • I fixed some posts that had some typos (I usually am good about this, but these had slipped by).
  • I deleted some links that really weren’t relevant to me anymore (i.e., Ruby on Rails) and I added some new ones.
  • I changed to a new theme (comments welcome!).

I’d like to elaborate a bit more on the last point above, since it merits some discussion and the action is rooted in something I care about deeply.

Continue reading “More updates to blog, switching to GPL theme”

Updated to WordPress 2.8.2

Bismillāhir Raḥmānir Raḥīm

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.

Testing out Lekhonee WordPress client

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

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.

Getting back on track

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, nothing can take away from the blessing & joy of being a father, but one of the obvious side effects of having an infant is the drastic change in priorities.  So, naturally, most of my projects have fallen on the wayside.  Even work has suffered.  But, alhamdulillaah, this just means I have to reshuffle schedules and be more prudent about my time usage – I’m still figuring this out.

To help me get back on track, I wanted to revisit a recent post I had made about unfinished projects.  The two projects that I feel I need to put some extra time into, due to their nature, are the AlMaghrib in Malaysia project as well as the Global Homeschooling project/business idea.  The former needs attention because people are waiting on me for further action, while the latter is important because I am convinced it is the future for my family, in shaaʾ Allaah.  Although the other points on the list are quite important as well (and some are, actually, more important), I am choosing these as examples because I think making progress on them is something of a “low-hanging fruit”.  Therefore, I need to make some kind of schedule or plan for getting both of these done.

Continue reading “Getting back on track”

It’s a boy!

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alḥamdulillāh, on Monday, the 19th of Rabīʿ ulʾawwa, 1430 (16th of March, 2009) at 5:38 PM Malaysia local time, Allāh blessed us with a 2.3 kg (~5 lb.) blessing we named ʿAbdurraḥmān (عبد الرحمن), which, in Arabic, means “slave of the Most Merciful”, which is one of the beautiful names of Allāh in Islām.  In fact, the Messenger of Allāh, ṣalallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam (may Allāh peace & blessings be upon him) mentioned that the two most beloved names to Allāh are ʿAbdullāh & ʿAbdurraḥmān (slave of Allāh), which is why we chose that name for our first son.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Book 025, Number 5315:
Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The names dearest to Allah are ‘Abdullah and ‘Abd al-Rahman. (link)

Both mother & son are doing fine, alḥamdulillāh, and we all came home earlier today.

Picture requests will not be honored.  😉

My first Fedora

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

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).

Continue reading “My first Fedora”

Removed microblogging updates

Bismillāhir Raḥmānir Raḥīm

Alḥamdulillāh, I’ve gone ahead and removed all the microblogging updates to my blogs (the ones titled, “Identi.ca updates for yyyy-mm-dd”).  I thought it would be a neat idea, since I had started using identi.ca, to add some unique content to my blog, but the result was all I was doing was spamming my own blog.  How terrible is that?  Since I already have a sidebar widget that displays my identi.ca activity and anyone can subscribe to my dents directly from the site, I felt the blog updates were just too much.

In an ironic twist, I’ve now enabled my blog to make a dent (the identi.ca term for Twitter’s “tweet”) whenever I make a post using the same plug-in.  In shāʾ Allāh I won’t have the reverse problem.

Unfinished Projects

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

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).

For

  • 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).
  • HidayahTech
    • 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
      • Web technologies
        • 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
      • Consulting
        • 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
  • Global Homeschooling
    • 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.

March of the Ants!

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

As bugs are normal around the house here in Malaysia, I have just gotten used to them for the most part.  Yes, the wall next to me is a veritable graveyard for mosquitoes, but most other insects don’t bother me much, alhamdulillaah.

This includes ants.  Ants are usually very benign, they mind their own business, and they even are basically the bottom chain of clean-up around the house.  That is, anything biological that we failed to remove, they take care of for us.

So, it was only with a casual non-alarm that we regarded the increased amount of ant activity in our bedroom.  They were more apt as of late at finding our food and swarming it, but that’s just ants.  Until I came into the bedroom one day in the afternoon and found the following.

Continue reading “March of the Ants!”

Reorganized blog categories

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

I just finished re-reorganizing my blog categories after pondering the difference between tags & categories.  Incidentally, I will attempt to start using tags on my blog posts as well.  Subsequently, I will be recategorizing a lot of posts that are categorized in both a category as well as its parent, since that is no longer necessary.  Consequently….hehe, just kidding.

I did add a new category called “Blog” under “Personal” for these kinds of updates.

En route to Malaysia

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, my wife & I are en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where we’ll be staying one night with her brother & his family before continuing on our way to home in Kuala Terengganu, in shaaʾ Allaah.  Right now we’re in the Kuwait International Airport, and, alhamdulillaah, they have free wifi throughout the airport.  This is even more wonderful given the fact that we have a 7 hour layover here.  Alhamdulillaah.

Continue reading “En route to Malaysia”

From the South China to the Mediterranean Sea

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, my wife & I arrived safely in Alexandria, Egypt this past Friday to the welcoming arms of my parents, whom I haven’t seen since I left the US back in June.  If you’ll recall, I originally departed on this journey because I could not bring my wife to the US yet, as the immigration process is still ongoing.  Needless to say, we are enjoying happiness upon happiness being with family that we haven’t seen for months, and, in the case of my wife, well over a year.

The last time I was in Egypt was in the Summer of 2001, and I didn’t have a blog, own a camera, or even have a website at the time (other than one through my university department, which is long gone by now).  The only way I kept people updated was via e-mail, interestingly enough!  Alhamdulillaah, now I have so many ways to keep people bored about my current goings-on!

I had forgotten just how big Alexandria is, and also how photogenic.  Our Internet connection is an order of magnitude slower here than it was in Malaysia, but at least it is stable, and we may be upgrading it, in shaaʾ Allaah.  So, updates will be forthcoming, in shaaʾ Allaah, but please be patient – since I’m sure you’ll on the edge of your seats waiting for more media from me…

In the meantime, I leave you with this treat – a view from our balcony.

Panoramic photo of the balcony from our apartment in Alexandria, Egypt in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea
Panoramic photo of the balcony from our apartment in Alexandria, Egypt in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea

Close Encounters of the Blurred Kind

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

While riding (on a scooter) to a nearby masjid with one of my brothers-in-law, I felt something flew straight into my eye despite the fact that I was wearing my glasses at the time.  I was unable to flush it out while on the bike, and I thought that, like most eye gunk, it would just migrate to the corner of my eye for easy extraction.

As it turned out, I was unable to get it to move, and after returning home, I could still feel it.  I looked in the mirror and was able to spot, rather clearly, a small black speck in my right eye right between my iris and the surrounding white area.  I flushed my eye out with water, and, alhamdulillaah, I was able to get it out.  Surprisingly, it stayed on my finger long enough for me to show it to my wife, brother-in-law, and finally, to take a few pictures.

UFO extracted from my eye
UFO extracted from my eye

The object is roughly spherical in shape (though it’s hard to tell from the picture), and if I had to guess, I would say it was an insect of some kind, or part of one, given it’s semi-shiny appearance and the few features I was able to make out.

There are too many amazing things about this.  For starters, just the sheer size of the thing and how much trouble it was causing me in my eye.  Also, the fact that it was so easily flushed-out.  And, alhamdulillaah, my eye, though red immediately after I extracted the speck, was fully healed as if nothing happened within hours (and possibly minutes).

Alhamdulillaah for the blessing of sight and for everything else that we take for granted.  How easily could it have been that this would have turned out worse?  Alhamdulillaah ʿala kulli shayʾ.