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Caught on camera!

There is an image of me on Google Street View!

Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from various positions along many streets in the world. [Wikipedia]

It once created a big buzz when it first started in the UK as these images, apparently, breaks the privacy of homes and people. In the early days, the faces of people on the streets were not blurred, but many court cases later, they ended up blurring all the images of people. This view is taken from a vehicle that has a mounted 360-degree camera, that captures images, which are then put together to get the view. Zoom in on the five guys walking in the centre. Spot me if you can :). If the Applet below doesn’t work, click here.

Random thoughts

The following post is totally random and it was written on a Monday morning. You have been warned :-P:

I got back to Liverpool last week after a very “high” 4-weeks in Jeddah. Originally intended to be a 3-week long trip, the Ejyafalajokol Eyjufjallajokoll Eyjafjallajokull volcano delayed my return trip. (That was just my spelling error, I still don’t have a clue how that is pronounced.)

But thanks to the volcano and the generous people at Saudi Arabian Airlines (if you follow me on twitter, you must have had enough of my whining), our family finally got to get together again after my sisters arrived along with my 10-month old nephew.

After 5 days of going to the airport in search for a seat to London, I had said enough good-byes to everyone at home that by the end of the 6th day, when I finally got a seat, I feel as if I haven’t left my home yet. It feels as if my 6th goodbye  wasn’t complete. With my current academic busy-ness, I have had very little time to mentally shift myself from Jeddah. This is just an attempt to wash the post-vacation blues away from my mind.

And finally, to all of my online friends who wanted to meet-up but couldn’t, I am very sorry it didn’t work out this time. I had a higher priority to my family. But inshallah, there will be another time soon 🙂

When it rains, it pours.

Riyadh Rain - Logo by Ahmed Al Haddad

Designed by: Ahmed Al Haddad (@cdes). Shows the two famous skyscrapers in Riyadh drowning.

My post on the Jeddah floods of November 2009 is long overdue and it has always been on my list of posts to be written. But an opportunity came knocking when a similar rain hit Riyadh earlier today and caused similar damages, if not as strong as Jeddah, to the infrastructure of the city.

The Jeddah floods helped in unveiling a lot of infrastructural defects and bad town planning by the Jeddah municipality over a period of decades. It arose a lot of questions by the citizens which led to the king calling for an official investigation. It led to the arrest of many officials at the Jeddah Mayoralty and un-covered the not-so-hidden cases of corruption and bribery by them. What really saddens me is that, even though the investigation hasn’t reached anywhere yet, the end result of their actions led to the death of 120+ people (unofficially: 500+) and damage to even the latest road and bridge projects across the city.

I really hope that the devastation in Riyadh is not that serious and pray for the well-being of everyone there. The presence of a number of geeks in Riyadh didn’t go wasted either as a new website was launched within hours of the rain :

The website gathers all the tweets from all the users of Twitter in and around Riyadh that puts the tag #RiyadhRain. It also has a collection of videos uploaded on YouTube by hundreds of users that also shows how the humanitarian efforts are being carried out by the citizens, which is worth another post that I hope to be writing very soon.

Eid Mubarak

Inspite of what has happened in Jeddah, hope everyone is safe and we wish you a very happy and blessed Eid to you and your loved ones.

More on Jeddah:
God Help Jeddah
When it rains, it pours!

VIDEO: Floods in Jeddah (NoComment TV)