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    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    RANT - Sustainable Archi'torture..

    It's a common scene..

    Every other day, as an architectural office, we're bound to come across a client or two who would like his/her/their needs to be met specifically and according to an image they have in their minds (or a certain message they want to deliver, but miss the imagination factor).. There's no harm in that, so far, because in the end, we ARE there to satisfy those needs (No, not in that way, you perv)..

    However, when those "needs" happen to NOT comply efficiently with architectural and spatial standards, or the image is not architecturally doable/thiesable/practical/sustainable/yada/yada, that's where our job begins..

    It's our duty, as designers and engineers, to make sure that those standards and rules of thumb adapt and fit perfectly to make those needs factual, more than just fictitious scribbles on a napkin.. and sometimes, it works vice versa as well..

    Impressing the client, architecturally, happens in 3 ways:
    1. Spatial needs and how they're reflected on the plan..
    2. Cost effectiveness (we rarely come across an open-checkbook client)..
    3. The "bling" factor (mainly, how the building looks vs. standing out to the surroundings)..

    Nothing is wrong with that image.. When a client gives you a requirement, you show him/her/them how it's done and then you show off your imagination and concept behind your work.. Project ends happily ever after, you're commissioned for that "job well-done", and you spend the night out celebrating with your annoyed-by-your-working-hours spouse..

    Obviously, that utopian case scenario is NOT what am blogging about..

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    You're Doing it Wrong..

    No, that's not what she said, am sorry.. That's actually what Steve Jobs said.. 

    Just follow the link and keep those smarty-pants remarks to minimal..

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    My Essential iPad Apps - Part Deux..

    Like the fancy title? I thought you would.. See? I care!

    Anyways, i kept on pushing the submission of this post, because i actually had to change some of the apps i was going to recommend.. Booming markets, they never change, eh?

    If you didn't get the chance to check the first part, click here.. This is going to be the last part (for now) until some new app comes in.. Feel free to send me a tip..

    Interested to read on? Well, you CAN click the link and get on with it..

    You CAN..

    [Note: All apps (organized in no particular order) are linked to the iTunes app store, so feel free to check this list from your iPad too]

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Making Life Easier..

    I would like to take the chance to congratulate all of you great citizens of the traffic-free city of Jeddah.. Recently, in aims to better reduce our almost-minimal traffic troubles, the municipality managed to open the new connecting tunnel of Sitteen street, right under the Tahlia street..

    With careful attention to traffic studies and details of expected neighborhood density, which is what our municipality does best (based on years of experience and proven trials), the new connecting tunnel is expected to better achieve under any circumstance..

    I'm also happy to post pictures i took earlier this week of that working tunnel (taken in none peek hours, around 10 pm on a Monday), so we can all marvel at the greatness of the studies made..

    What a blissful day to be this happy..

    RANT - Architecturally Speaking..

    As an architect, i've always considered Saudi modern architecture to be an eye sore.. Our understanding of modernism doesn't go beyond the material used to give the idea of being modern.. And you guessed it, glass and steel is a must if you want to be 21st century-isc.. This is not a full fledged generalization, it's merely a majority that seems to lead the market into their arena.. Maximizing profit, minimizing cost, mutilating the surroundings..

    One neighborhood after another, the aesthetic levels vary.. Some areas are well articulated, and some are cardbox disasters, sharing the same design motifs, mainly because the designers use the same CAD library all the time.. When you work as an intern in one of the prominent firms around, you're bound to come across the Bible of Saudi Designs, which is a 10 GB collection of CAD files of different facade designs, column designs and room layouts.. Some later versions of that bible can go up to 50 GB, and once you acquire that, you can start your own business already..

    Mind-Blowing Innovation..

    It never ceases to amaze me..

    The fact that, despite being a country rich in oil, we don't seem to be rich on the intellect on how to utilize it properly.. Some are busy stacking its revenue for the apocalypse (by all means necessary to do so), and some authorities spend millions and millions on projects that either don't contribute to society in a good way, or don't last long enough to reap any expected results.. And everyday, i'm reminded of those "facts" in conversations and/or driving around the city..

    Today was one of those day..

    The Adobe Photo Shop..

    As in, a Shelter, Made out of Adobe, and functions as a Photo Shop.. Get it? GET IT??!!

    Yeah, well, you should get that sense of humor of yours checked.. Sheesh..

    Anyways, covering less hilarious news (depends), What happened last week?

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    The Way-Over-Due iPad Review (it rhymes!)..

    It's always a bright day when you get something new in the mail.. Something that is not a credit card bill or a care package from that cousin of yours who loves to send oily food (North African desserts, mostly)..

    One week ago, i got the phone call i've been expecting for a long 5-day wait.. "Your Apple iBad is here" (Saudi Accent FTW).. Why am i writing this one week after? I had to subject the new iDevice to my own hands-on critique.. I know the web is over-flooded with a barrage of reviews, so this is my own two halalas into that big ocean..

    The iPad review is a bit late, i know (too late, maybe).. But what can a none-funded+newly married tech-addict do?

    If you haven't bought an iPad, and still need another review to either go for it (or run away from it), you might want to continue reading (after the jump)..

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    My Essential iPad Apps - Part One..

    Now that you got your iPad all sync'd and set up (or just ordered it and waiting for the sync-to-activate moment of truth) What kind of apps should you look into?

    With the iPad apps reaching over 10,000 apps to this day, searching through might be a bit overwhelming.. And after fiddling around daily for a whole week, the apps on the App store keep on showing you different ways of using your machine.. I did notice, however:
    1. The iPad can be either a great assistant to your daily usage, or a really great distraction from the things you bought the iPad for..
    2.  The iPad is all about feeding you data, visually and textually.. Making data accessibility ever-so-easy, and also making a need for that tech-free-day of the week more inevitable.. 
    3. You'll need to be on the US App store to get the best out of the iPads apps.. Which is easily manageable.. Just set your address to any state and city, and buy US iTunes gift cards (MaximusCards accepts PayPal)..
    I hope you enjoy my almost-humble list of apps..

    [Note: All apps (organized in no particular order) are linked to the iTunes app store, so feel free to check this list from your iPad too]

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    How To : View any Website as IE8+..

    Usually, since my country runs on the latest tech (sarcastic), i'm bound to come across a governmental or local business website that is designed to be viewed ONLY through a certain browser.. And for a while, i used a Virtual Machine workaround to use IE on my Mac OS X, which took some time to load, use and then shut down just to pay an electricity bill.. Things have finally changed..

    Safari has always been slow in catching up, and this feature (with enabling extensions) is way over due.. But, somehow, Safari has always been my browsing choice for some core features.. With this, it's the preferred choice now..

    By popular demand (from the one who seems to be the only regular commenter), this tutorial is all about teaching the simple way of viewing any website in any internet browser format WITHOUT needing to install that browser..

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    The Ultimate Laptop..

    Ladies and Gents, i give you, the true meaning of mobility..

    iPads? You should be ashamed of yourself.. ASHAMED!

    Now that we got that elephant afloat, What happened this week?

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    WWDC '10 - Summary..

    Well, the keynote is over.. and i like to take the chance to really apologize for confusion about the timing of the event.. I said it was 9pm, while it turned out it was 8pm (lucky me, i was around my feeds at 8:30).. I want to blame the blogs that said the event would start around 6 GMT, but i should've double checked.. My bad, and again, towzand apologies..


    Well? Get in..

    WWDC '10 - Get Ready!

    Today (around 9pm) Apple will host it's World Wide Developer's Conference, and there are more spotlights on Apple this year than previous years..

    This is almost similar to the hype around Apple when the first rumored iPhone was soon to be announced in 2007.. However, times have changed.. The competition has become more fierce, and the technology is spread out all around to the extent that Apple really needs to blow minds this time (both as consumers and Wall Street) to prove that they still got it.. And this year was intense for Apple, with the rumor leaks and the ongoing controversies with competitors, This seems like a big event for Apple (and it's enthusiast, of course)..

    What we should expect this time, is either an awesome confirmation (or a drastic debunking) to all the rumors that served as hype incentives.. Mostly, we're looking at the following checklist (after the jump):

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Don't Hate the Game, Hate the Fanboy..

    Interesting thing is, if you thought you had enough reasons to hate fanboys (or alienate yourself for actually being one, YES AM LOOKING AT YOU!!!) you'd probably have another stronger reason to hate, or a reason to flaunt that extra-love you have laying around.. Especially after an interesting find i came across..

    No, not THAT.. But it worked so well not to be shared around X'D.. We'll get to discuss that other thing later on..

    So, what happened this week?

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Speaking of Conspiracies..

    On a lighter note..I've witnessing, lately, a huge wave of conspiracy-fueled debates around the web, with the recent Mtv and Israeli stunts, so i thought, why not include another theory that is already happening as we speak? and this one is easily proven, so don't bother emailing Alex Jones to confirm..


    There's been quite a revival, online, of 1984, and how the tech giant Apple is heading towards that draconian future of BigBrother supreme rule.. Might not put a gun to our head and force us to buy apple-only products in that dystopian future, but may as well be speculated by the CEO's.. iGuns FTW..

    Funny thing is, this idea was pushed by many, including Google..

    True Life - The Aftermath..

    Almost a week ago, Mtv released a video report about the Saudi Youth (or what it wants to give out as the typical stereotypes) and created a huge tidal wave that took Saudi networks and coffee shop discussions by storm..

    What many managed to forget, and i tried to clear out before, Mtv is not doing this for any journalistic excellence award, nor are they interested in creating a change more than do what their job description is.. Create a fuss, and reap the cash out of the publicity (be it good or bad).. And that, my friends, has been the plan.. There, conspiracy revealed..

    And guess what, the general reaction to the video fell victim, and reactions were the same favorite three (in no particular order):

    1. Blame the jews (or Zion, or Barney the Dinosaur, or Chuck Norris)
    2. Blame the world for allowing this to happen(since they're all in it to support Mtv's political campaign to over throw the evil regimes of the world, and ca$h out the social reform)
    3. Blame the lack of ethics of those who chose to appear (or lack of pure blood, i kid you not)

    So, in the light of the Blame'track we're in, allow me to exercise my generic Saudi birth right..

    i'd like to send a shout-out and blame you and you and you.. All of you..