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UAE Authorities Block Skype August 31, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Dubai, News, Technology & Gadgets.

 Skype          Vonage

Many Dubai residents are infuriated over Etisalat’s recent decision to block Voice Over IP (VoiP) applications such as Skype and Vonage all over the country; including free zones such as Media and Internet City.  For a country claiming to be the Business and Technology hub of the Middle East, I think this is definitely a move backwards.  The motive behind the decision may be based on financial grounds.  Out of the 2.5 million people living in the UAE, 1.6 million are expatriates.  There are more phones than people: 1.1 million land lines (operated by Etisalat) and 2.9 million mobile phones.  The motive may also be one of political control. Skype automatically encrypts conversations, making it costly and difficult to tap conversations or determine calling patterns.

Many institutions, corporations, and individuals all over the world use VoiP applications such as Skype or Vonage to cut-down on long distance calling expenses.  The Bank I work for actually just approved the implementation of a VoiP system on all our networks across Jordan because long distance calling rates are sky-high and these applications really help reduce communication costs while just as clear and easy to use as telephones.  So while poorer nations like Jordan are trying to work WITH VOIP technology, wealthier nations such as Dubai are prohibiting it.

Etisalat is the UAE’s telecommunications monopoly.  Angered Dubai residents have taken action against Etisalat, and have put together a petition to try and get the UAE authorities to reverse their decision.  You can find the petition on-line here.


New Glossary Of Investment Terms August 31, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Humour.
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As an Investment Banker myself, I found this spoof of Investment terms to be  very amusing.  This is something that everyone, Investment Banker or not, will enjoy.


Momentum Investing – The fine art of buying high and selling low.

Value Investing – The art of buying low and selling lower.

Broker – Poorer than you were in 1999.

P/E ratio – The percentage of investors wetting their pants as this market keeps crashing.

“Buy, Buy” – A flight attendant making market recommendations as you step off the plane.

Standard & Poor – Your life in a nut shell.

Stock Analyst – Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

Bull Market – A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

Bear Market – A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry and the husband gets no sex.

Stock split – When your ex-wife and her lawyer split all your assets equally between themselves.

Financial Planner – A guy who actually remembers his wallet when he runs to the 7-11 for toilet paper and cigarettes.

Market Correction – The day after you buy stocks.

Cash Flow – The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

Call Option – Something people used to do with a telephone in ancient times before e-mail.

Day Trader – Someone who is disloyal from 9-5.

Microsoft – A condition temporarily remedied by Viagra.

Cisco – Side kick of Pancho.

Yahoo – What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $540 per share.

Windows 2000 – What you jump out of when you’re the sucker that bought Yahoo for $540 per share.

Institutional Investor – Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nut house.

Profit – Religious guy who talks to God.

Bill Gates – Where God goes for a loan.

Alan Greenspan – God.


Sati’s Hip-Hop & R n’B Corner – 2nd Edition August 30, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Hip-Hop & R n'B Corner, Music.
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I hope that everyone who decided to download the tracks on last week’s Top 5 Most Played Hip-Hop & R n’B list enjoyed the songs.  This week’s Second Edition introduces a nice variety of Hip-Hop tracks.  From bouncy, mainstream jams to slighly more “Gangsta” jams.  I hope you enjoy…


5.  Field Mobb Feat. Ciara – So What (Remix)

4.  The Clipse Feat. Jay-Z – Where You Been

3.  Ice Cube – Why We Thugs

2.  Beenie Man Feat. Akon – Girls

1.  Akon Feat. Eminem – Smack That


FAA Bans People From Flights August 29, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Humour.
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In a move aimed at further tightening airport security, the Federal Aviation Administration announced today that it would ban all people from flights leaving or entering the United States, effective immediately.

The FAA, which has in the past banned such objects as toenail clippers and hair gel, took the extraordinary step of banning people after the Department of Homeland Security conducted a thorough investigation of previous terror plots.

“We looked at terror plots of the past, and in each and every case, people were involved,” said Homeland Security Michael Chertoff at a Washington press briefing.  “These new rules send the strong message that the FAA has zero tolerance for people.” 

Mr. Chertoff said that while banning liquids from flights was a constructive step, the only true solution was to ban people altogether. “Let’s face it, hair gel doesn’t kill people,” he said. “People kill people.”

The Homeland Security Secretary acknowledged that the new rules would curtail Americans’ ability to travel, but added, “On the plus side, that will make them easier for us to spy on.”  The FAA’s ban on people onboard flights raised questions for the nation’s airlines, which must now ponder what, if anything, there airplanes will be carrying.  But Davis Logsdon, who studies the airline industry at the University of Minnesota, said that the FAA’s crackdown on people could be a “win-win” for the airlines:  “Maybe if the airlines don’t have people to worry about, they can finally concentrate on getting our luggage to the right destination.”

Elsewhere, al-Qaeda disavowed responsibility for a terror plot to make Americans’ laptops burst into flames, blaming it instead on Dell.   

Emmy’s 2006 Opening Number August 29, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Humour, TV, Videos.
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Emmy Statue

For those of you who missed it, this year’s Emmy Opening Number is a must see!  Conan O’Brian, the host, is at his best.  If you like him, you are going to love this.  If you don’t, you probably will after watching this.

The Opening Number is split into 2 parts.  The first part is a hilarious 6-minute introductory mini-clip, and the second part is Conan’s very funny 8 minute monologue. 

So take a break, sit back, relax, and have a good laugh.  You’re going to enjoy this…

Opening Number (Part 1) – [Link]

Opening Number (Part 2) – [Link]

Say Hello To The iPhone August 28, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Technology & Gadgets.

 Apple Logo

With the enormous success of the iPod and other iPod related consumer gadgets, its no surprise that Apple is now considering entering the massive world of mobile phones.  Apple first danced to the tune of the mobile phone industry when it tangoed with Motorolla and incorporated the not-so-very-user-friendly iTunes software on new Motorolla Mobile Phones.  Rumours of Apple’s mobile phone initiative have been intensifying recently and the circulation of photos over the Internet, like the ones below, only confirm these rumours.

If the phone looks anything like it does in these photos…sold! Known to be a freak for mobile phones in addition to electronic and digital gadgets, i’ll definately buy myself one of these.  Slim, slick, classy, with all the functions of an iPod and a mobile phone.  If anyone is wondering what I want for my birthday next year…look no further. 😉

Apple Phone 1

Apple Phone 2

Apple Phone 3

Jordan’s Golden Gate Bridge August 27, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Jordan.


Note:  The picture above is dated 2 March 2006 and is copyrighted material by the photographer Kurt Feller.


Some call it the most spectacular construction site in Amman; others call it a monstrous disaster.  Some think of it as Jordan’s modern landmark; others think of it as an unnecessary waste of government funds.  Some think it will solve traffic congestion problems in Amman, while others disagree completely.

Whether you are driving under it or along side of it (on one of the many detour roads), you can see that the Wadi Abdoun Suspension Bridge looks almost complete.  All that is left is a small gap where the final piece should fit like a puzzle and voila!…You have Jordan’s Golden Gate Bridge; without the water of course.  The bridge, however, will not be ready to welcome our diesel infested cars (that’s another topic all together) until the 4th circle tunnel and Abdoun circle tunnel are complete.

Amman residents who suffered the most from the detours and the horrible traffic, have questioned the viability of the project.  Many of them don’t really think the bridge was necessary.  The 417 meter long bridge actually passes straight through some residential areas.  The construction of the tunnel under Abdoun circle has caused a huge loss in profits for many of the stores and restaurants in the area; especially for the summer season during which Abdoun circle is packed with people wanting to spend.

With only a few months left until the completion of the entire project, Amman residents anxiously wait to be proven right or wrong.  Either way, I can guarantee that the next postcard you receive from Jordan will have the Wadi Abdoun Suspension Bridge on the front.  Step aside Le Royal…..Abdoun Bridge is taking over!! 😀

*UPDATE* The Wadi Abdoun Suspension Bridge is now complete and open to the public.

Bye Bye Pluto August 27, 2006

Posted by O.J. in News, Oddly Enough.
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Solar System

We all grew up with the “fact” that 9 Planets make up our Solar System.  I can still remember as a young child in school having to memorize the names of each planet in order.  I guess the next generation of kids will have it easier as they now only have to memorize 8 planets.  That’s right….eight! 

The International Astronomical Union very recently decided to demote Pluto as Planet and issued new historic guidlines as to what is and what isn’t a Planet. Will all mention of Pluto be removed from textbooks? Will planetarium and museum exhibits be reworked to show eight planets instead of nine? 

Dubai’s Traffic Problems Solved? August 26, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Dubai.

 Metro 2

Any of you who have been to Dubai within the last few years, or know people who live there, must be fully aware of the traffic problems in that City/Emirate.  It’s horrible!!  It takes 15-20 minutes to get from one side of Shk. Zayed Road to the other.  And with all the construction and detours in the city, it takes double the time to get from point A to point B.  Will the metro project currently underway solve the traffic problems?  It may relieve some of the congestion on Shk. Zayed Road, but doesn’t tackle the problem in other areas of Dubai such as Bur Dubai, Garhoud, Jumeirah, etc.  I’m not really convinced of the feasibility of such a project; but after you expand roads from 3 to 6 lanes and you still suffer with “rush-hour” every hour of the day, what else is there to do?

Here are some decent 3-D images of what Dubai’s metro system (The Dubai Rail Project) is supposed to look like.

Metro 1

Metro 3

Metro Map

With Cheese… August 26, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Food.


Anyone that knows me, knows that I could easily eat a burger everyday of the week.  I have a favourite burger joint in every city i’ve ever lived in; from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and from London to Dubai.

After having been back in Amman for five years.  I’ve tried so many different burgers that I feel I should publish a short Top 5 list of Amman’s Best Burgers.  Now, Amman is not really famous for its great, juicy, tasty burgers.  However, there are a few places here that manage to put together some delicious burgers.

Below are my Top 5 burgers in Amman:


5)  Living Room – Mozza Burger

4)  Champions – The Champions Burger

3)  Four Seasons (The Foyer) – The Four Seasons Burger (w/ cheese)

2)  Houston’s – Mushroom, Cheese & Onion Burger

1)  Whispers – Spicy Mushroom and Cheese Burger


Next week:  My Top 5 Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches 🙂