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Friday, June 13, 2008

Yes, I still disappointed with the unpopular decision to replace Jerash Festival with what's now called "Jordan Festival". I don't know what crossed Minister of Culture's mind to issue such decision since I've not heard justifications or good reasons. The only thing I know is that Jerash festival, which finally obtained a good reputation, has been canceled and substituted by this new (but don't think innovative) festival.

Anyways, one of the good (pop?) artists who I really like is Mika. The good news is that he will hold a concert at the Dead Sea on July 25. (The bad news –for me- is that probably I will not be in Jordan !).

Mika has three awesome songs which I adore: Grace Kelly, Love Today and Relax (Take It Easy), which I am sure you've listened to before. He's 24 year old, and only yesterday, I discovered that he's half-Lebanese.

His public performances and jobs have varied from classical performances in the Royal Opera House to writing in-flight music for British Airways and creating an Orbit chewing gum jingle. He won three awards at the World Music Awards and he's nominated for the Grammy Awards.[W]

If you are charmed by his vocal tonalities, and shocked by his unique "falsetto", this will be the good chance to meet him.


The Three Tenors

A must for Opera lovers will be the live performance of tenor Placido Domingo at the Jerash South Theater on July 21. He's well known to be one of the Three Tenors (the other two are Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti). [W]

Diana Krall, who is really famous in Jazz circles, will be at Amman's Citadel on July 8. [W]

You can take a look at the program of Jordan Festival:

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

What is was Open Source Day 2008?
Everyone knows that JUST has the highest Jordanian rate of IT nerds, technology fanatics and pseudo-hackers. What do you think they would be capable to do if they were grouped and led by a person like me?!? :)
We (i.e. JUST Open Source Group) organized an open day to promote 'open source' between Jordanian students and it seems it is the first time such an event occurs.
To realize the hugeness of the event, these are some of the things we distributed: nearly 1500 CDs and DVDs, Mozilla and SUN gifts and a lot of giveaways (1000 pens, 500 notebooks, 500 folders and 20000 stickers) 450 donuts and unlimited coffee!!

Donuts :P Exhibition Tent Coffee Guy :)

Open Source for Dummies
If you are not a geek or a computer nerd, you'll probably not know what open source means.. I will try to make things simpler by giving an example. Suppose you purchase a car... it may be a Lamborghini, Jaguar, BMW (or more probably a Kia Sephia if you are in Jordan ). However, after you bought that car you will be free to do what you prefer. You can open it, try to fix the car if it's broken, change its engine and other parts or even modify its style (in the 'Pimp my Ride' way)!
Things are different when we talk about computer applications. You do own your car, but it's impossible to "own a computer program" at the same way. A software company which sells a program allows you to only use it. You are even not allowed to see how it works or to know how it was programmed.
You can get more freedom by using open source programs. Open source means that a computer program is accessible to everybody and that the 'source code' (the orders given to the computer) can be modified and changed as you like.

Open Day Highlights
- The day started with a deep philosophical speech of Prof. Bataineh (our faculty's dean), who stated that open source is a modern revolutionary response against capitalism and corporate ownership. He didn't say this explicitely, his opinions were thinly covered by ethicism and his personal Sufi theological views. But nobody can deny that what he said in the opening ceremony was a strong attack against new economic doctrines.
- There was a panel discussion titled "What Future for Open Source in Jordan?" with three key persons: Hussein Kawasmi, who is a main member of Jordan Computer Society, Razan Khatib, an open source expert and manager of important IT companies, and Zaid Mdanat, whose company is the REDHAT partner in Jordan. Unfortunately, the discussion became similar to a struggle between some Micro$oft-lover students and the guests.
- Mr. Joseph Shomali gave a very useful presentation about using Open Source software and tools in 3D and console game development. His company is now developing a state-of-the-art 3D game (For PC and XBOX) which will be sold in North America and Japan . The lecture was a must-see for all the gamers!

Prof. Sameer Panel Discussion Mr. Ziad Marqa

Firefox and JUST mozillaclub
We made a good work to promote Firefox and other Mozilla products (Mozilla was one of our global sponsors together with SUN Microsystems). It was really nice to know that people's lives changed completely after they've discovered Firefox. Students were also shocked by the large numbers of cool and useful add-ons they can download for Firefox.
The Open Source Day was also a great opportunity to spread Songbird. Songbird is a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web which you can download from here. (Yes, it's really nice.. I love it)

Creative Commons in Jordan
I suppose the Open Source Day was the first CC-related event in Jordan . Mr. Ziad Marqa gave an extraordinary lecture about intellectual property and Creative Commons licenses. The lecture was extremely related to Jordanian laws, as Mr. Marqa is officially translating the CC licenses to Arabic to make them compliant with Jordanian laws. (Yes, he is really making a good work).
We had some wonderful guests like Donatella Della Ratta who is now working with Creative Commons to support and promote CC licenses in Arab World. Two artists, Eileen Simpsons and Ben White attended the Open Day as milestone to their wonderful project: the Open Music Archive, a database that contains free and creative music, especially that which has fallen out of copyright. (It is interesting that Jordan Times published a good article about them all).
All the parts agreed on the necessity to 'build' a CC-supporting community in Jordan .

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