TED Talks

There's a conference that takes place every year - TED (Technology Entertainment Design) - which brings supposedly together bunch of brilliant people to share the most powerful thing people can share - their ideas. It's an invitation-only event, so what has been shared there has never before reached a wider audience. Until now.

Now you can have the presentations in audio and video, to download or watch online. Just go here:

There's one in particular I'd like to recommend to everybody. It's about creativity (by Sir Ken Robinson). It's full of great ideas and the presentation is going to make you laugh so many times. Great stuff.

You can download that video here: http://ted.streamguys.net/ted_robinson_k_2006.zip

If anyone..

...knows organizations that facilitate volunteering/take volunteers in Latin America that give accomodation/food in exchange for work, please drop me an e-mail or write it in the comments.

Hop Fest 2006

This was the name of the beer festival. It was a great party! Live music, beer everywhere, lots and lots of people. Felt like Europe.

Thats the festival t-shirt. That way you indicate how many beers have you drunk. Guys identified girls who had had 6 beers or more as easy prey.

Aah, Skype is working again! The voice of the people got heard I guess, democracy (http://www.petitiononline.com/uaevoip/) can win even in the Middle East. Although most likely it was a business decision as Dubai is keen to maintain its image as a safe and great place for business and investments. Blocking Skype and other VoiP thingies was a way more unpopular move than the government expected.

Local telecom monopoly Etisalat is being laughed at. Check out Etisalat logos which represent how people feel about it: http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l162/etisalad/

Sick and stuff

I've been sick for almost a week now. Some people have reacted like "how can you get sick there, its like 45 degrees!?" Well, viruses are incredible creatures (?), they live (well) in every damn climate I guess. Anyways, I'm almost recovered now. Although people catch cold here too and quite often even. Its because the AC is set to +18 usually and it blows constantly.

Talking about ACs - my AC at home broke down. So I had to sleep (only one night) in a room where the temperature was above 40. Luckily I had at the fan which was working. Next day I called my landlord and told him to do something. He sent an "electrician" over to check the situation. He asked a couple of questions and looked out the window where the compressor part of the AC is. Suddenly he took off his shoe, slammed it on top of the compressor and a huge puff of dust came out. "It should work now". And it did. That dude was an expert. There are plenty of that other kind of experts here also. I had problems with plumbing is my house - called my landlord, he sent an expert. That expert had never seen water pipes in his life and didn't know the word "plumbing". The problem is still there.

Many people who don't know anything about Dubai ask me "so it's a dry country, right?". Well, no. In fact, today after work I'm going to a beer festival. Titled as the best party of the year.

Skype blocked

And so they killed our Ferdinand. Skype is now blocked in the UAE. Before you couldn't transfer money to your SkypeOut account, but now you can't even connect to the software. Both in and out of the freezones. Bastards. Local telecom Monopoly Etisalat fears VoiP (voice over internet protocol). Calling through MSN is also not possible. So calling home now becomes expensive. Bastards.

This is summer

This summer is better than the previous one. Why? Mainly because of the weather. Its not so hot! Last year it was close to and more than 50 all the time. Humidity was in soaring heights, every day more than 90%. This year the temperature is still 40-45 on the average, but humidity is much lower, around 50..70%. This year I've been also smarter and have stayed indoors more. Good move.

If you live in a (new) place for a year, you get so used to it. It is easy to discover yourself living in a routine. Home, work, reading books, shisha, bbq, everyday small things. Haven't been writing to the blog too much recently. I feel I have to change that. Its like one of those things that keep me focused and make me be a better person in a weird way. Its kinda like one of those small things that helps me to climb my mount everest. More about that later.

I've been reading a damn interesting, compelling, educational and thought-provoking book. Anyone who wants to understand the black continent, its politics, history, why is it in the state its in right now and more, should read "The State of Africa : A History of Fifty Years of Independence" by Martin Meredith. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed, hey - you won't be even able to put it down once you start reading it.

Aah, I was on the radio this morning. In a local radio station (Dubai Eye) in the Business Breakfast show - talking about our portal. It was alright.

The invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied. I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.