The morning (or evening or afternoon) dose of Shuttings
Jigsaw puzzles have always been my greatest distraction remedy. When pressure at work is low, my brain wanders out of leash. The only way to get hold of it again is to keep it involuntarily busy. Reading a book, working on a pro-bono project, or learning a new language does not work, because of the lack of a precise deadline. I’ve just read on Wikipedia that
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, doing jigsaw puzzles is one of many activities that can help keep the brain active and may contribute to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
High-five! I have just recently put together a very challenging puzzle of the Rosetta stone, and here how I finally did it.
When I first opened the box and unpacked the pieces I was shocked! They all had the same color and texture. A great puzzle is a puzzle that is not impossible to deter puzzlers away, nor so simple it turns off the serious ones. There is a balance. Jigsaw puzzles come in different variations: small or large pieces, rounded, fully locked or loose, all-edge pieces, spherical, three-dimensional, all-uniform pieces, non-uniform edges, and I have even found out about a puzzle that has no image printed!
The images that are printed on it (if any!) are also part of the challenge. They can be natural scenes (with a combination of complex and flat areas), black-and-white, visual illusions, logically deduced, or all of that, or non of it! But the trick is that the designer always leaves a trail behind, if it turns too challenging it could be boring to solve. If, for example, it is a black-and-white puzzle, the pieces are cut in a way you can tell their orientation immediately. Of course they don’t state that on the box, you have to figure it out yourself. And I have assembled one of those.
If there is no reference image on the box (like CSI puzzles), they come with a story, and they are normally not too flat photos. A flat photo is like blue skies, or uniform colored, that would be the hardest part of the puzzle, so you usually leave till last. A complex photo has variations of details on the same piece enough for you to guess where they fit. Those are the easiest.
I once assembled a Mosaic puzzle, that formed the shape of the globe with night fall around it. Every piece had a combination of small images put together, even the dark skies had enough details, it was fairly easy, and fun to assemble.
A pyramid shaped puzzle was a bit loose on the edges, and the pieces looked alike. But the trick was a small symbol on every row of the pyramid structure to tell you what pieces should be placed on that row. Again, it wasn’t boring, nor hard.
This Rosetta stone one; had the same color and texture on all pieces, hardly distinguished details, non-uniform edges (some internal pieces were mistaken for edge pieces), did not follow a rule for orientation, and the reference images was hard to read (it was useless!). It was so daunting at one point I felt like ditching it all together.
The Rosetta stone has three parts, ancient Egyptian, Demotic, and Greek. The hieroglyphic section is the narrowest and easiest to assemble. So I started there. I searched the net up and down in search for the exact image of the text, and found just one reference (pretty amazing how no one cared to put an image like this online!) Here it is: Rosetta Stone Hieroglyphic section.
It was fun matching the text on the piece with the actual content of the image, it was not exact, and I had to learn some of the possible variations of hieroglyphs. I learnt that this language is actually phonetic. And the text on the Rosetta stone is actually Greek.
The Ancient Greek part was also fun to assemble, once I gathered the pieces and decided their orientation, I looked up on the net for the actual text, and found this: The Greek script of the Rosetta stone. You have no idea how fun it was to put this section together, I think I picked up some of the words already, like
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΙΑΝ ΤΗΣ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΟΝ: Kingdom of Egypt.
Tricks and tips: Ancient Greek did not have spaces between words, some letters where written differently back then, and you have to watch out for misspelling in the Rosetta script (19 misspells listed at the end of the document, wonder what happened to the poor dude who engraved it when Cleopatra found out!). I also picked up how to pronounce Greek letters, though I must admit I had previous training as an Electrical Engineering student.
That left the Demotic section. I could not find any reference to the actual script or a clear image of it. I just found a dictionary of Demotic language, oh boy! The things some people do when they run out of Star Trek episodes to watch! Eventually I got so bored, I just laid out the pieces with the “possible” orientation, and with individual trial an error I put it together. It took a while, it was boring, and I made a lot of mistakes. I was so frustrated some times I promised myself I was going to put it apart once I was done with it!
But of course, there is no sense of achievement more overwhelming and complete, than that you get when you finish a Jigsaw puzzle. Doesn’t prolong, but condensed.
Funny fact, next day after I put it together, I found a mistake, two pieces in place of each other! Go figure!
I suppose, or may be not, that I can pick up the iPad and write a post, that would be the first thing today that i convinced myself I might be interested in. What a boring day, distracting, un fruitful. I just wrote placeholder garbage text using my left hand. That was as exciting as it could get. It has been about two years since I started this phase of my life, and two years is a long, long time.
My brain has burnt, and my soal is asleep. How can any human sit for hours staring in the ceiling thinking of everything and nothing? My brains hurt I need a nap.
Should I write some code? Don’t feel like it. Should I solve some bugs? Don’t feel like it. Should I read a book? Don’t feel like it. Should I blog? Don… well, if it’s from Harry (not much friendly name for my IPad) then yeah, I’ll rant, until my brain hurts… which is about… now.
ps, can’t believe it but I just edited a published post!
Momentos! Writing down on the back of a piece of paper, not to forget when we lose our short term memory. Note to self: don’t trust America, don’t trust Europe, don’t trust America. Hashtagging Libya.
We have seven days a week: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Hommosday. I need to recover the past three years I spent in Sydney, Hommos-less!
Fridays are becoming iconic nowadays: Rage Friday, Revenge Friday, Stepping-down Friday, Dignity Friday, Friday, the day of Freedom.
Minority report: great movie! Great technology! Wii came next.
Adel Imam burnt his cards, all of them.
God freed Egypt of its Pharaoh, later Sons of Israel deserved his curse. God (praised He is) freed Egypt of her second Pharaoh, let’s pray for Him to save us His anger, and His curse.
Why do Arabian official media in unresting countries still play that old rotten card of “bunch of thugs” and “Alqaeda?” Have they gone out of creativity?
UX design is what I do best, don’t need a certificate to tell me that.
Welcome to the year 2008. This is the age of hyper speed. Pills solve all kinds of problems. Fast! But it took ten years after the death of Princess Diana for the case to be finally closed.
A series of lucky incidents set the stage for a man in Sydney to be in the right place at the right time when he had his heart attack – for example, his decision not to go to work that day. He has been resuscitated 29 times of this heart attack. He now believes there is someone out there looking out for him. Ya think?
Child nudity is hitting hard in Sydney. It started with displaying nude pictures of 13-year-olds in an art gallery. As policemen took them down in response to national objection, and for much longer than the set period of the exhibition, all of Australia got the chance to see those picture for free, everywhere, on prime time TV. Way to go Australia!
Then a 14-year-old girl says on TV that she feels sad she was banned from modeling. According to Australian law, the legal age for that is 18. In other words, a girl cannot show her naked body until 365 days from her 17th birthday pass. In other countries it is 16. The “Australian Super Model” show however sets the legal age at 16, because you see, TV is less offensive! Great, two more years and my 12 year-old-sister can turn to professional child pornography.
Sydney published a story about a girl who after 20 years of separation went looking for her father, only to fall in love with him. They got married and – get this – they had a baby! It has been said more than often, that temporary insanity is a good defense, not to mention eternal insanity.
Australia is also very concerned about the Austrian girl who was held as a sex slave by her father, and gave birth to seven of his children, her siblings, her children, his grandchildren, I give up!
A Nevia commercial for an underarm hair remover (or whitening deodorant) starts by: “what will all women want to wear in 7 days?” Apparently, they would want to show their underarms. I wonder what a bikini-line hair remover would make woman want to show.
Another commercial starts with a woman saying: “When I have a headache, I want effective relief, and fast.” Take cocaine!
A belly dancer interviewed on TV says: belly dancing is meditation. Reminds me of el Hajjeh Fifi Abdo!
The western world’s reaction to the matter of Tibet is too mild, considering their endless support for
human rights, particularly the jewish race. Hypocrisy.
Tanya Zayete, who was sent to Afghanistan to entertain soldiers, was accused of having sex with them. What is a show girl doing in Afghanistan? What about gay soldiers (tongue in cheek)?
The Governor of Dubai, the Vice President of UAE, the holder of Victoria’s secret, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (pardon my ignorance with the rest of his title) wears a gold necklace under his white gown.
A peaceful protester against the proposed Islamic school in Sydney said: “we do not want Muslims in Sydney, we do not want Muslims in all of Australia.” I propose a solution: a Muslim State, say upon Japan, with global endless support, a Vito-aided nuclear plant, and a lobby. And let’s not forget a fairy tale about a promised land. We would get rid of all Muslims in the world.
An Australian cyber criminal expressed his sadness that his country extradited him to the USA to fulfill a sentence. He is right, Australia is wrong.
Iraq played a football match against Australia, the result is 1-null. The irony of football!
Rugby Aboriginal players have been complaining about some fans dubbing them with the monkey insult. Coming from a worthless fan to a star player is not an issue. Taking the matters to TV and playing the insults over and over again, is however a great issue of racism; racism of the media.
According to the RTA license test, the safest way to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol is to take a cab to the bar. In a news item, Taxi drivers went on strike demanding more security in cabs, to protect them from drunk customers!
Donald Trump, compared to Omar ben Abdel Aziz. The former is rich, makes many
miserable.The latter was poor, made many happy.
Simon Cowel beat Gordon Ramzy, in the Lap (Top Gear). Blunt ego beat fucking ego. At least Gordon wears an apron to cover his waistline.
Been watching Large Dad and following up on the food crisis in Ethiopia. Say, if we dump a large dad over Ethiopia, it could either result in one more hungry man, or ten less hungry people.
A fast food chain was asked to discontinue a campaign aimed at children employing Batman character, claiming that the last Batman movie is dark, and rated M. Last time I checked, Batman was a cartoon character.
Jamie Oliver’s Fowl Dinner show raised conservative reactions against the way he went to reveal the nasty business of chicken production. You do not have to kill a chicken on TV to prove a point, but you certainly have to play Ugly George’s ugly film to reveal his ugliness. (Ugly George is a 1970′s moron who went about LA asking girls to show their bodies on TV, and made a short documentary film, which was played on SBS!)
Channel Seven News is promoted with the slogan: “If it happens, it’s on Seven.” Given the lousy events that are happening, may be we should shut down Channel Seven?
The NKOTB are back 20 years after separation. Why God, Why?
I watched the season finale of Lost, here is an excerpt: “is it doing what I think it’s doing?” silence… “you know why…” silence… “did he come for you too? yes he did.” … They just cannot be more specific! Anyway, I watched the season premier and did not feel like I missed a lot, just like the Bold and the Beautiful.
Saed is not a native English speaker, but because he is a macho soldier, or because he lives in Hollywood, he speaks fluent American English. But what about the Korean guy who had just learnt English to impress his wife? He speak English gooder from me.
When they finally made it back to the shore, I cried: TOILET PAPER! Seriously, how did they get by? Someone in the Ad business had the same thought, check out the Aussie toilet paper commercial.
Seems like I am more into rambling than writing about something in specific, so I am thinking of naming these kind of posts as Good Morning Amman! Lame I know! Okay, then, it is Shutlogue.
If you have a mouse wheel, mouse-wheel- clicking a link, opens in a new tab. Doesn’t work on Flash embeds.
Pressing Backspace goes back in history, so does Shift+mouse- wheel-scroll down. Alt+right Arrow goes forward, so does Shift+mouse-wheel- scroll up.
Pressing Ctrl+mouse- wheel up and down changes the zoom level on IE7, changes font size on earlier versions. To speed enter a url, enter the url alone with no (http://www) or (.com) then press Ctrl+Enter.
New additions to IE7: you can now highlight some text, and press Shift to continue to highlight more text. Finally! Another breeze of air comes through the behavior of drop down menus. In previous editions, when you select an option, the control gains focus, when you mouse-wheel scroll up or down, the option changes up or down! Pretty irritating! In IE7, the box gives focus back to original window so it is not affected by the mouse-wheel. Yippee!
If you are using Dreamweaver CS3, you must have noticed the CPU leakage. It goes up to 100% (on a single CPU for Duo Processors) and causes the fan to keep rolling! Trick: if you open a modal dialog in Dreamweaver, it would stop, so if you are leaving Dreamweaver open and need to work on something else, open any modal dialog (like Edit>Preferences).
The new automatic operator at Fastlink replies with a slang accent. The auto girl tells you exactly what you are about to experience the first time you call 1234 (assuming you would catch a line!). It takes a couple of minutes. They also installed a voice-recognition system where you can voice in your request, and she comes back with: Do you mean (this)? If so, press 1…
I always thought voice recognition systems are a waste, nobody likes to speak up and talk to a machine, it is darn too weird! But this time it was pretty efficient, did not have to wait for the auto girl to list down everything in the universe! On a side note: It doesn’t take time to get used to it, I had to call twice to get my request, which is not bad for a first timer.
www.giveawayoftheday.com, a must-see. This is where software companies put their products for free use in a window of 24 hours. No technical support or free updates. And it offers reviews by users and feedback
Here is a light topic to cover, and make you forget I am a week late! Following are ideas that only come to an insomniac as I am. Worth mentioning and funny.
It is kind of ridiculous but it is true, no matter how many solutions appear to save us time, we seem to have less and less time. As if our main target is to rather compress time. But there is one thing I have yet to see in the market: clothing prescriptions. Imagine if you don’t have to waste your time looking through tons of apparel stores just to get what fits! All you have to do is show your prescription to the “apparel-ist” and he disappears for few moments before showing up with exactly what you want! 32 Blue Jensalichol, and two 4.5 red Sneekalene!
Too much information. The software business was very generous with creating all the kind of backup systems and cataloging software to help people smoothly backup, find or restore files. (Worth mentioning: Genie-Soft Backup Manager.) So here is what I do to keep track of my backed up files: I label the CDs according to City Names. For example, I don’t have to label it: Outlook backup! What if I can stuff in other things?
Besides the benefit of remembering labels much easier, building acquaintance with your own system proves much faster. Athens are for my personal photos – thus next time I backup my photos, they go on Athens 0708 (year and month). Berlin is for the bulk material. Cairo is for exe tools. Next time I dig up something it would be much easier, especially that I use the simplest form of cataloging system: an Excel Sheet.
Those who have great window view outside their offices are extremely lucky! Can you imagine if one day you can install the view of your wish without losing the value of sunshine? It would be like: today I am in Paris, and tomorrow I want to go next to the Opera House. Or even better, the southern window displays the Pyramids, and the northern one displays Statue of Liberty! (Surprisingly, insomnia is innocent of this one, I dreamt about it!)
Here are some of the gifts I think are the greatest in the world.
5. A tea box. (My friends once got me a tea box, being a tea holic, I loved it.)
4. A detailed world map.
3. The biggest Jigsaw puzzle in the world.
2. An amazon gift certificate (I got this once, loved it).
1. A registered car license plate, with an amazing number. (That is a priceless gift, since you gotta kiss a lot of asses to get it done!)
What I would appreciate from a company is to giveaway a USB, rather than the stupid mug! A glass cleaner for monitors or LCDs, one rewritable DVD, or a pocket torch sets the mood right on.
I have yet to see a blog summing down places of 7alal food in cities abroad. It would be tremendous help for our fellow brothers and sisters.
With little parking areas in Amman, and a lot of entrances and side streets, double parking seems like the way to go most of the time. It is not all bad if it gets a bit organized. I have this habit of leaving a paper inside the window of my car, with my whereabouts and probably my cell phone, in case I am blocking an entry or double parking! If we all get into this habit, maybe the city of Amman should provide us with “double parking lots.”
Ewww! Going to the doctor to clear it out turned out to be the second best choice. The best thing to do is actually drip warm water inside your ear for few minutes, and maybe some soap, then clear it out. Golden!
Time for my daily doze of lack of sleep! I used to be a great sleeper, now I go on days on end without getting more than three hours of interrupted sleep. But I still dream like ever. I love my dreams. Sometimes I am totally aware of it. My best “reality dream” was being at a party with lots of tables covered with every dessert you can think of, and I ate like hell knowing it won’t affect me when I woke up. YUMMY!
Now the IE7.0 is about to be released (Dave Massy’s Blog), and as described by the beta version, windows will open in tabs as in FireFox. In fact, tabbed windows have been there for a while, the first time I had to deal with them was through Late Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0 or something (I say “late” because Macromedia has been acquired by Adobe.)
That set me thinking, of the early days of Office Word. Back in the stone age, Word opened all documents in one window, you could switch between documents through the window menu (that means Adobe is still in the stone ages!) Then they came up with a window per document, and I do remember at first it was irritating, but once you get used to it, it becomes really convenient, especially if you have enough space at the task bar to show the title of the document. But now, I wonder, are they going to have tabbed windows in Microsoft Office Word? That is, version 12? The screen shot below, does not show any tabs
I consider Office Word by far the most sophisticated and helpful software. It is more useful than dear Adobe Photoshop Did you know there are 1500 commands in Word? The new version promises that the commands panel will change according to context, helping users to better reach the hidden features of Word. Two thumbs up!
One of the enhancements at the current version of Word, I recall, was changing the event that opens the url links written in a document. It used to be a mouse click, now you need to hold down the ctrl key while clicking. Thank you Microsoft!
Microsoft Outlook also made few simple enhancements that made my life easier. The first major enhancement was concealing the window tab from the task bar when minimized. I used to launch Outlook first thing after I login my Windows, so that I always have the tab at the left side of my task bar. So this definitely made me use less resources in my human brain machine every morning, of course, the saved resources went to other tasks – like coffee making!
Another Outlook feature that I think little have noticed, is described like this: when you have the preview mode switched to on, and you switch between different folders in Outlook (from calendar, to inbox, to tasks, and back to inbox), the email that previews in the inbox folder, is the last email you selected, not the first in the list, unless you have the first in the list already selected, then the first will be selected and previewed (and marked as read) even if it is a new incoming email. Well, I did notice,
and I did like very much, but I still want this feature to be further enhanced so that the incoming email is never previewed unless I choose to preview it, because I configured my Outlook to mark as read in three seconds, it makes my life less noisy, and again saves human CPU cycles for … tea making! And I would also like to see it applied on all other folders (especially the calendar.)
Another problem with marking emails as read occurred in the past with the older version of MSN messenger. When you got new email, MSN prompted you with “new mail from BigButs,” when you clicked the notification it instantly opens the email in a new browser window. Now, two notification boxes appear, one for the specific email, and the other is a simple “you’ve got mail” once clicked, it would open the inbox in a browser window. That is definitely better. It makes spammers life more useless than it already is.
‘Nough said! I talk too much!
Follow up: In face, I would like to add this one behavior that originated back in the 95 version of Microsoft Word. It is in how the next line after a heading is rendered. In old versions, if you style a paragraph as a header, and press Enter, the next paragraph is also a header. Then that changed, the next line switched back to regular paragraph, which I personally think is great! In other softwares – such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, you can now control this behavior by changing a preference: “Switch to plain paragraph after heading.” But I think I first saw this behavior in Microsoft Word.