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This is now my technical-only blog, my non-technical blog is here.

31 August 2005

Egyptian Linux Users Counter

The Linux Counter is an attempt to get an idea of how many Linux users there are in the world. But unfortunately I was surprised to find that the Linux Users in Egypt accrding to LC is 232 persons only, and Egypt is ranked 134th worldwide. So I'd like here to thank EGLUG for there efforts in introducing Linux as well as Open Source Softwares to Egypt

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28 August 2005

Alice In Cipherland

[O]nce upon a time there was a girl called Alice, and she wanted to send a message to her friend Bob. So she decided to encrypt the message so that no one can understand it. Can you find the original message, given that the encrypted message is "opptvpzfft" ?

AT and DOT

Sometimes you need to write your Email address in your home page or in some web forum or so. But the problem is that spammer have their own spiders (web crawlers) that navigate the Internet in order to get these Email addresses and add them to their Database. So the solution for this is to deceive these bastard spammers and put your Email address as an image or simply write it in some format that they cannot understand however other humans can do. For example you can replace the @ sign with , [at], or -at-, also the same can be done with the dot sign.
Example: bastawisy-at-yahoo-dot-com

27 August 2005

Google Talk Doesn't Search

After installing Google Talk, I was surprised that they have no searching capabilities there to find other users. You can search in you Gmail contacts, but not in anywhere else. I was expecting Google to have search features in their Google Talk that excels that of ICQ and Skype.

New Banner

I'd like to thank Zeinab - A.K.A. Bent Masreya - for the wonderful Banner she made. You can see it now at my blog.

26 August 2005

Mozilla - Exporting Address Book Entries

One more feature I'd like to see in Mozilla Thunderbird is to have the ability to export (or save as some standard format) my address book entries there in order to send them to anyone else.

Free Gmail Invitations

Hey Pals, I am willing to give Gmail Invitations to the first 10 users to submit requests in the comment section of this blog entry. Just write your name, and your email address in the following format you[at]mail-server[dot]com inorder to protect your e-mail address from spammers.

SQL Injection

What the heck is SQL Injection !? It is some kind of application level attacks that targets SQL database servers. It is one variant of code injection attacks that depends on inserting malformed data in forms inputs via web pages. The importance of application level attacks, especially SQL injection is that they need nothing but a web page written in ASP, PHP, ...etc. installed on Apache or IIS web server even if that server is hardenend and installed behind a very robust firewall. Here is a good article I found on SQL Injection, and hope that you may find it useful.

25 August 2005

What is the Spider's IP

In google try to search for "whatismyip", and you'll get the google's spider IP address, which is You can do the same in any other search engine.

Peugeot 307

I just love this car, especially the 307 cc.

The Island

Yesterday I went to see a movie called The Island. It's a sci-fi adventure, where Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson star as two childlike clones who escape from an underground prison where they are raised like cattle to provide organ donations. I can rate this move A- (or B+). What I liked more in it is the visial effects and how the Director (Michael Bay) used the contrast of colours in his scenes. Visually, the film looks extraordinary, with its massive, deep sets, use of almost monochrome colour.
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24 August 2005

Google is Talking

As widely expected, Google entered the instant messaging space today with Google Talk, an IM client that also offers the ability to make voice calls between computers.

23 August 2005

Abort Windows Shutdown

Sometimes after you click on windows to shutdown, you remember that you don't really want it to shutdown. Also there are viruses (virii) that force the computer to shutdown after 60 seconds or so. So in order to stop the PC from shuttingdown you may write the following command in the command prompt:
"shutdown -a"
Note: In order to get the command prompt you can press on the "start menu", then choose "run...", write "cmd" there and press enter.

Green Code Project

I believe that softwares can be one of the main sources of the Egyptian national income. And we can see India as an example of this as they have tons of professional software developers and engineers. The problem here is that many people have great programming skills, others have innovative ideas, others have the experience or may be the money to support them. So the idea of Green Code Project is somewhere for all the previous to gather and share ideas in order to produce some useful software - or may be embedded systems - projects. These projects can be either open source ones, or closed source. Anyways it is just an idea and I'd like to get others comments on it.

Yet Another Blog Article

Yet another blog article, or simply YABA. That's it!

22 August 2005

Unpainted Buildings

Today I was on a trip to El Mansoura and I have noticed on my way by with train that most of the building in the Egyptian villages and small towns as well as those in poor districts in Cairo are not painted and the walls are just bare bricks and concrete. So I have an idea that the government or whoever may be interested can make a competition between the graffiti artists - see my previous article on Egyptian Graffiti Art - to encourage them draw on these buildings - after a permeation from these buildings owners for sure. They may also do it free of charge and just for fun or be paid for it.

21 August 2005

Zamalek to Champions League Semi-Final

Today Zamalek has defeated Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast 2-1 and has been promoted to the African Champions League semi-finals. And I'd like to congratulate all Zamalek fans on this occasion, and hope that Zamalek will win the Champions League Cup and be qualified to the World Cup in Japan.

Are you a Computer Geek !?

THis iS mY ScOrE:
My computer geek score is greater than 82% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

IPS Before or After the Firewall

One of the frequent questions in the security design is whether to deploy the inline IPS's (Intrusion Prevention Systems) before the firewalls - i.e. between the Firewall and the Gateway Router - or behind it. The two options are valid; however if you don't want to get loads of false positives in your IPS then you have to put it behind the Firewall as many of this traffic will be blocked by the Firewall, so the IPS don't have to look in it. I also prefer this design as the Firewalls are more robust systems by nature - most of the IPS are hardened Linux Servers while firewalls are often Hardware Based - so they can handle the high traffic loads - DoS, DDoS, and any unwanted traffic - and block them before they reach the IPS.

20 August 2005

Do you Skype ?

Skype has been very popular lately helping people make phone call (PC2PC, PC2Phone, or even Phone2PC). The PC2PC part of it is free and has very good voice quality, while the PC2Phone as well as Phone2PC are called SkypeOut and SkypeIn services respectively and they cost some money, however it is still cheaper than ordinary phone calls. One more nice feature in Skype is that both voice and instant messaging traffic is encrypts which gives you some privacy especially if the are some sniffers on your LAN or upstream m ISP. You can download it from their website

18 August 2005

Egyptian Graffiti Art

It is very common here in Egypt to find people writing their own names or even doing random scratches on the buildings, bathroom walls, metro seats, school desks, etc. Lately it another phenomenon has started by putting some advertisement stickers or ones with phrases asking people to pray or girls to be veiled. Another foolish act has been noticed lately, are some people having spry and making black lines on faces in the street ads. The problem with these stuff that it makes our cities look ugly and unclean. I also think that religiously no one has the right to write or put a sticker on some public or privet property he - or she - doesn't own, independent on what is in that writing or sticker. Graffiti art is popular in many other places, but there it is some kind of art and people make some effort in drawing and painting it. Ok, I am not saying that this is right, but what I mean is that people must have some sense of beauty as well. In some countries they have some places where people are free to paint on the walls there as they want, but it is forbidden to do it anywhere else. Finally, I am not against graffiti art as it sometimes looks cool, but the government has to make some places for people to draw whatever they want, they may also draw in their own properties and they must have some sense of beauty as well.

IM Arabic

People face problems sometimes in writing arabic or their PC for various reasons such as they are sometimes not arabic enabled, or even their keyboards do not have arabic letters on them. So people started to use latin letters combined with numbers in order to represent the arabic letters. This is an article I have created in Wikipedia in order to standerdize what is known as IM Arabic as it was originally usd in Instant Messeging and Chatting programs. Please feel free to contribute to this article there.

17 August 2005

The Israeli Model

When The State of Israel was established in the late forties, they claimed that Palestine is the land of their ancestors bzillions of years ago and it is their right to go and have a Jewish state there. So lets try applying this model on the different races and groups in the whole world and see what will happen.
  • Black people in Europe and America are originally from Africa, so it is their right to go back to their homeland and kick the people of these countries out.
  • A big percentage of the Americans and Australians are originally from European countries, so it is their right to search for their original countries and go there and kick the people of these countries out.
  • Many Americans are originally from Asia (China, India, etc...), and it is their right to go back to China and India and kick the Chinese and Indians out of their countries.
You may also try to follow the different races in your country and find more example to be added to these ones stated here.

16 August 2005

Tihs raelly wroks !!

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe Tihs raelly wroks. Bset Regadrs

If you're not listening, tell me to turn off the radio

I've noticed lately that there are many Egyptians who have their own bloggers. It looks like some kind of hype or "hey people, I am here !!". These blogs can be categorized as follows:

A huge number of them are political ones and they talk mainly - may be only - about "kefaya" movement and the re-election of Mubarak, etc.

Another major part is what I call "Egyptian Popular Art" blogs which publish poems for "Salah Jaheen", "Ahmad Fouad Nejm", etc and talk about concerts in the "Sawi Cultural Wheel".

After that there are the personal ones where people write their thoughts and may be their daily life.

Finally there are religious ones.

There are some points that I've noticed in this, one of them is that the religious blogs are very few compared to the presence of the religion in the daily talk of people in the streets. Also there are no - or at least very few - technical - ones that talk about new technologies, open source projects, etc. - nor scientific blogs as far as I know, which is expected but very disappointing.

At last, the question now compared to the number of these blogs and their owners, how many one reads them and is this number significant or it is like the Arabic pop singers phenomenon where singers are much more than their listeners.

15 August 2005


Is the reverse engineering - informaally: gnireenigne - by itself legal or illegal. I know that stealing someones code or algorith and using it in a product of your own especially if this piece of code is copyrighted is illegal. But the question is if I just reversed engineered this code, may be to find some vulnerability in it or to test some freaks disassebler I've written or any other reason, will this be illegal too or not.

Wiki Wiki Wawa

According to Wikipedia a wiki is "a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content. The term Wiki also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website (see Wiki software)." This new technology has been used lately in order to make what's known as Wikipedia (A Free Online Encyclopedia). The concept is to let people cooperate in writing the encyclopedia contents by themselve, they can also correct others mistakes, or add more details to what is already written. "Wikipedia's editing process assumes that exposing an article to many users will result in accuracy. Referencing Linus's law - Linus Trovalds - of open-source development, Sanger stated earlier: Given enough eyeballs, all errors are shallow. But the question is whether something is more likely to be true coming from a source whose resume sounds authoritative or a source that has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people (with the ability to comment) and has survived". The German computing magazine c't performed a comparison of Brockhaus Premium, Microsoft Encarta, and Wikipedia in October 2004: . Experts evaluated 66 articles in various fields. In overall score, Wikipedia was rated 3.6 out of 5 points (B-), Brockhaus Premium 3.3, and Microsoft Encarta 3.1. In an analysis of online encyclopedias, Indiana University professors Emigh and Herring wrote that "Wikipedia improves on traditional information sources, especially for the content areas in which it is strong, such as technology and current events". Any ways, here is a link to Wikipedia site try surfing there and add whatever information you see that it is missing there.

Ants Attack

Today morning I was surprised to find my Laptop occupied by numbers of ants. The ants armys were hiding under the keyboard buttons, and as soon as I opened the Laptop they started their sudden attack. I tried to fight back and killed some, then used a blower to blow them up out of my territory. And thankfully I think I've annihilated them successfully. Finally, I think the antivirus companies are supposed to start making new products to help people protect their PCs from the various kinds of insects.

Thunderbid Should Handle Outlook Meeting Requests

One more feature I'd like to see in Thunderbird is to be able to handel Outlook Meeting Requests and add them to its Calendar extension. It has also to be able to send Meeting Requests in the Outlook format.

12 August 2005

Egyptian Football League

Today the Egyptian Football league will start, and on this occasion I wish the best for Zamalek team in the new season. By the way, what I mean by football is that game played in the whole world and that the Brazil national team has won its world cup five time for now - a.k.a. soccer - and not that freak game played in USA only.

Please Stop Bugging Me

It has been a number of months while using Mozilla Thunderbird as my prefered EMail client. But there is one thing I hate about it which may in some stage makes me switch back to MS Outlook again. The problem is that we have SSL enabled on our Mail Server, but the certificate there has a domain name mismach as well as it has expired already. So every time I try getting an email or sending one - my client is configured to check for new mails every short while - I receive warnig from Thunderbird. I do really need some way to tell it "OK, I know that the domain name of my server does not match with the one in the certificate as well as that the server's certificate has expired already, but PLEASE STOP BUGGING ME WITH THAT AS I KNOW WHAT THE HECK I AM DOING!!"

Bye Bye Cisco

Earlier this month Michael Lynn and x-employee in ISS (Internet Security System) gave a speech in the Black Hat forum about some security breaches he has found in Cisco IOS that may get them to their knees. He also explained how this can lead to Arbitrary Code Execution in the Cisco products that may in some stage let hackers to make various exploits and worms that can infect the Cisco routers, switches, etc.

The problem here is not that the Cisco products are that vulnerable and insecure as Michael Lynn said, but it is how Cisco reacted to that speech and decided to sue him and the Black Hat organizers. It is really shameful that a company that has a significant share in security products market reacts that way instead of trying to fix their own security weakness or at least announce that they are going to fix them.

Getting On My Nervers

Sometimes some people are getting on my nerves. Sometimes the way they talk, sometimes the way they act, and some other times they just do without any reason.

08 August 2005

Zamalek Ya Madrasah

Yesterday Zamalek sucessfully defeated the Tunisian Esperence Team in their home town 2-1. Actually Zamalek is the best team in Africa and deserves his famous slogan "Zamalek ya madrasa, le'eb we fan we handasa" (i.e. Zamalek is the school of wonderful play and fantastic football arts)

04 August 2005

Foam Art

This is a master piece of a horse and a tree made using foam pieces. The picture was taken by the professional photographer MMM (Mostafa Multimedia). You can also notice the use of Foundry FES Switch in the background.

HOWTO Tie a Tie