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.

Moodle 2.0 released!

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!

The Absurdity

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A few days ago, Matt Lee of the Free Software Foundation had asked in the #theora IRC channel for help in making a DVD of the Patent Absurdity documentary.  Several people volunteered to help, and I was one of them.  I discovered later that this was related to the “Who should see Patent Absurdity?” campaign of the End Software Patents project (an initiative started by Brad Feld, I just discovered!).

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.

Continue reading “The Absurdity”

60 Minutes segment on apartheid in Israel

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/23/60minutes/main4749723.shtml#ccmm

Watch at the link above for a bold & frank look at the living conditions of the Palestinians under apartheid in Israel, specifically in the West Bank.  Interesting to note is that the story only mentioned the West Bank.  Keep in mind when viewing their situation that Gaza is far, far worse off due to the blockade imposed by Israel & Egypt and also the sheer density of the region.  Without justice, how can people be calling for peace?

International Year of Astronomy 2009

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day featured an announcement for the International Year of Astronomy.  This alone would be noteworthy enough, but they also have a downloadable trailer (warning: contains some music, but it’s not prominent until the end).  This is great for geeks, and especially video geeks like Belal & me (him much more than me, of course).

Best of all, the content on the website is licensed under a Creative Commons license (albeit, including the non-commercial restriction, which is the worst of the available standard CC licenses).

Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not India’s 9/11

Arundhati Roy, in an article for the Guardian out of the United Kingdom, has written a deep, insightful, and thought-provoking article analyzing the circumstances and the context surrounding the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.  For a non-Indian like me, most of what she writes is very fresh & new, revealing currents in the Subcontinental social climate that I was, prior to this, unaware of.

Note: I’m sharing this article because I found it profoundly insightful, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything she says or concluded 100%.  In fact, I don’t think I can make that claim about anyone alive today.  I just felt it was worthy of being shared to give some perspective to those, like me, who are ignorant of the situation in the Indian subcontinent.

Click the link to see the article, or read on for the full text here (archived for posterity).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/12/mumbai-arundhati-roy
Continue reading “Arundhati Roy: Mumbai was not India’s 9/11”

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, though I am woefully behind in catching-up on my Planet Fedora feed, I do sometimes uncover gems in these old posts.  One such post includes a link to a TED talk by Ken Robinson, “Do schools kill creativity?“.  I found the video to be both enlightening as well as entertaining, as he brings to his presentation some very light-hearted humor.

I should be cautious by saying I do not necessarily agree with all of his points 100%, but that is rarely the case with anyone.  I believe most of what he says is, at the very least, beneficial food for thought, especially for anyone that has an interest in education of any kind.

Message Mastery by Belal Khan

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, my good friend Belal Khan of Leechon Films fame has started (a while back, actually) a program called Message Mastery.  You should get the full explanation from the website, but the basic gist of it is that it is a training seminar focused on developing masterful messages through the medium of video.

He’s released a few videos that are freely available that are samples of what the entire program entails.  I found the one entitled “Three POWER Principles of Filmmaking” to be quite refreshing in how simple, yet effective, such techniques can be.  Even more beneficial is that the tips he provides, while framed around the production of video media, are general enough to be beneficial in almost any context.

Give his site a check-out and leave some comments as he’s very keen on getting & responding-to feedback from his visitors & members of his program.

Disclaimer:  Belal is just my friend – I am neither associated with Message Mastery nor am I enrolled in the program…yet.

Texas Dawah Convention 2007 Audio Project – overview

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Introduction

Alhamdulillaah, a few months back, I successfully wrapped-up the audio recording & production project for the Texas Dawah Convention 2007. This was clearly one of the most ambitious projects in which I’ve been involved in my life, especially given the degree of responsibility I was given and the amount of work I had to do.

The project for me was a great learning experience on numerous fronts – management, business, technology, work ethic, and team work are amongst a few of them. If it weren’t for the great support I received from my partner & friend (I’ll only mention him if he wants me to – knowing him, he probably would prefer I don’t by default), then the work would have never happened and would have ended-up a terrible flop.

Please read on if you’re interested in knowing the history of how I became involved with this project, how it was executed, some of the challenges I faced during it, and finally, and a part of which I am very proud, how I completed almost exclusively using free (as in freedom) software, particular that which comes with Fedora.
Continue reading “Texas Dawah Convention 2007 Audio Project – overview”

Discontinuing with DiscoverULife for now

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Well, my wife & I have decided, both mutually and with the guidance of istikhaarah, that we’re going to discontinue our participation with DiscoverULife for the time being. We both stayed in for exactly one month, which was always intended to be an evaluation period. As it turns out, given our current situation in terms of finances, schedules, and sheer difficulties due to our physical separation, we felt discontinuing for the time-being to be the best option. Alhamdulillaah.

Continue reading “Discontinuing with DiscoverULife for now”

A day of quotes

In my usual banter with one of my coworkers today, I said the following line, which seemed to make a lot more sense at the time than it did in hindsight:

Life is a lot easier when you consider it a figment of your imagination…

Later on in the day, in a discussion regarding the opening of a position for a PHP developer on the Moodle team, after inquiring about the danger of living in Australia, the very same coworker uttered the following memorable statement:

World’s deadliest anything lives in Australia…

I won’t mention where the conversation went to after this…

Obvious obliviousness

While chatting with a good friend on MSN about a particular forums post, I uttered the following phrase which I found to be very enlightened (and such modesty!):

I was really surprised that their obliviousness would be so obvious…

For background on this quote, the viewer is encouraged to read the entire thread.  The quote above was definitely not meant to be offensive in anyway.  I just thought the combination of the two ob* words to be rather humorous.

Duck and Cover redux

With much appreciation to Andrei (I make it sound like we’re on a first name basis) and his linkblog, I would very much like to share with you the reason I was laughing hysterically at work today. Reminds me of the hype about duck-and-cover in case of a nuclear holocaust.

I say, if you see a flash or a mushroom cloud, you’d be better off reciting the shahaadah than following these techniques which are frequently considered to be ineffective. Alhamdulillaah their effectiveness hasn’t been tested yet, though, and, in shaa Allaah, never will be. Let’s just hope they remain tools for spreading paranoia, fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) and never enter into practical usage.

Stupidity vs. Villainy

I came across a quote that I just had to share. It was first referenced in a comment to a Slashdot story about a suspected spammer’s technique of “untraining” spam filters by sending “normal” text. The wikiquote page has some interesting variations, of which I found the following to be the most quaint:

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity

How frequently true this is…

FairTest – working against standardized testing

I work at a company that is involved in providing consulting services to K-12 educational organizations (that is, schools). My officemate gets the pleasure of writing & rewriting our testing coding, which basically handles the testing & test scores of students.  Therefore, it should be no surprise (or, well, at least only moderately surprising) that I found the following site mildly interesting:
http://www.fairtest.org

This is an interesting organization whose purpose is to show the implicit failure of standardized testing.  I have to say, I kinda agree with some of their points…I almost wish I could help them redesign their website…